Many people got it wrong about who was going to win, but the one thing that no one got wrong was how great of a fight this was going to be. The 12 round fight that was everything that Mayweather-Pacquiao should have been received nowhere near the attention that it should have. The Staple Center in Los Angeles, California was the perfect stage for Leo Santa Cruz to cement his legacy and win the vacant WBA (Super) Featherweight title. Besides being the perfect venue, it was the perfect way for him to achieve something that he has worked his entire career for. There was a lot of cultural influence with two Mexican-Americans at the top of their game slugging it out, which is an abnormality in itself. Boxing fans are too used to seeing two of the best fighters in a given division avoid each other past their prime until they can ramp up enough PPV billing. To see this happen when both fighters were at their absolute best was an awesome experience, whether in attendance or on television.
If you were one of the lucky thousand that showed up at Staple Center then you would have noticed a boxing purist dream, the likes of Don King in his prime even. Several celebrities showed up and did their rounds on camera, but none seemed as big as the two fighters in the ring. Abner Mares came in swinging, and although he had the energy and throughput to take control early on, it was the undefeated Cruz that took control of the match midway and through the later rounds. Some would say that he even gained control of the match sooner than that, and with the crowd firmly behind him. This was very much a Santa Cruz favored crowd, and one which could have affected the overall psyche of a pumped up Abner. Throughout it all, Cruz landed 35% of his punches compared to only 23% from Mares, which is a huge difference in a boxing match.
The majority decision was pretty easy to guess, but that didn’t take away from how exciting a fight this was. Hopefully we will get a rematch within the next 2 years while the heat is still going, and there still is a question of who can challenge Cruz in that division. He has really whooped up on a couple of people these past few years, so either someone needs to step up or we can call it a lock for Cruz. Whoever decides to take the challenge better come prepared, as Cruz can fight with the best of them.