santa cruz mares

Story:  Rahmon Ford:

StubHub Center – Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares each fought like they were on a mission Saturday afternoon.  While each combatant utilized a different game plan to achieve their mission, the destination was the same-  Santa Cruz/Mares II.

Santa Cruz, (34-1-1, 19 KOs), retained his WBA World featherweight title with an eighth-round stoppage of Chris Avalos (27-6, 20 KOs).  Scores at the time of stoppage were 69-64, 69-64, and 70-63.  All cards were in favor of Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz begin to feel Avalos out in the first frame and landed a nice right hand.  In the next few rounds, Santa Cruz began to press the action, at times trying to make the fight rough in close instead of distance.

In the fourth, a left hook by Santa Cruz wobbled Avalos and Leo went in for the finish.  Santa Cruz was upset that the fight wasn’t stopped at that point, as Avalos survived until the bell.

Santa Cruz continued coming forward, and began to apply a body attack hoping to break Avalos down.  He found pay dirt in the eighth as referee Thomas Taylor stopped the assault at 1:34 into the round.


Santa Cruz on Avalos

“He did great, he was moving, but I saw little mistakes I can take advantage of,” said Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs), who upended Carl Frampton in a January rematch to regain his title. “Let’s bring on the rematch. He paces himself more, he doesn’t go wild, he doesn’t try to knock you out. More speed and movement.

“I think it’s going to be more easy for me. Fighters that create distance make it more easy.”

“I thought I had him in the fourth round.  I gassed out a little bit but I got my air back later. I thought the ref was going to jump in during that round but he let him continue.

Santa Cruz on Mares 

“I want Abner Mares. I said if we both win, we’re going to fight. I’m ready to fight him in Los Angeles in the beginning of next year.”

Chris Avalos

“I’m very upset with the stoppage. We were fighting the whole time. There was no reason to stop this fight. I wasn’t hurt like the referee thought. I want to fight for the title again.”

In the co-feature, Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) laid an absolute tallywacking on Andres Gutierrez (35-2-1, 25 KOs) over 10 rounds before referee Jack Reiss stepped in.  The official stoppage was due to a bad cut suffered by Gutierrez.   Mares was ahead 99-91, 99-91, and 100-90 at the time of stoppage.

Although speculation was the cut came from a clash of heads, a punch seemed to be the culprit in this affair.  I thought Gutierrez was going to bring more to the table in this fight.  Credit Mares with bringing his A-Game in this one.

Mares went on the attack early and blood began flowing from Gutierrez as early as the third.  Mares worked the jab and boxed in ways I didn’t imagine, for sure.

As with Santa Cruz, Mares landed a big shot in the fourth round that would’ve discouraged most fights.  However, Gutierrez was game as he came out in the next round, eating power shot after power shot.  Nevertheless, Gutierrez pressed forward as if Mares’s shots were kisses on his cheeks.

Mares continued to attack the eye, which by then was bleeding abundantly.   The referee had no choice but to stop it on the doctor’s advice.

Mares appears to be a completely different fighter under the tutelage of Robert Garcia.  He’s changed his style to the point where Santa Cruz may need to make adjustments in the rematch.  Leo knows what that takes as he did the same in a rematch with Carl Frampton.

Santa Cruz, who watched the fight:

“He did great, but I saw little mistakes that I can take advantage of … the rematch, I want it.”

“He won, he looked great. Hopefully, the fans liked how I did. Now that we both got these wins, I think people want to see the rematch.”


Abner Mares

“I told everyone that I was here to make a statement. I had a tough opponent and he showed how good he is. It took a lot of punches and a lot of big punches. It was just a matter of time before I stopped him.

“I thought they could have stopped it earlier. He’s a young guy who was too brave for his own good. I was happy with the decision. I deserved the stoppage but I’m happy I got the win.

“I’m a totally different fighter now since I started working with Robert Garcia. We’re going to keep showing that when we fight Leo Santa Cruz.”

Andres Gutierrez

“I didn’t feel like the fight should have been stopped. I was hurting him as much as he was hurting me. My cuts did not bother me.

“I want to fight him again or have another shot at the title. I was prepared to fight to the final bell.”

In other action, Antonio DeMarco won by  first-round TKO over an aggressive Eddie Ramirez.  DeMarco, with his back to the ropes caught Ramirez with a short counter uppercut.  Ramirez retreated all the way to the other side of the ring and DeMarco staggered Ramirez.

Ramirez stumbled and his head briefly went between the ropes but he got out just as quick and into defensive position.  Not quick enough for referee Gerard White as he stopped the fight at 1:56 into the opening round.

Ramirez thought the stoppage was premature and so did I.  Here’s a video below.  You be the judge.


“I think it was a good decision from the referee. He was taking a lot of solid punches.

“I’m very thankful to Ramirez for taking the fight. I think big things are coming for me. I’m going to talk to my team and see what is next. I think this performance will erase a lot of doubts about me.

“I’m an experienced fighter and I stayed patient. I had great preparation and waited for the right moment. I feel great right now.”

“That stoppage was way too early. I was not hurt. I was fighting back and I felt like I was recovering. I want an immediate rematch if possible.”

Leo Santa Cruz vs Chris Avalos and Abner Mares vs Andres Gutierrez Predictions! by Rahmon Ford

santa cruz mares

Story by: Rahmon Ford

This Saturday afternoon at StubHub Center in Carson, California, an interesting double header will take place featuring favorites Leo Santa and Abner Mares. A win by both will set up a grudge rematch between the two combatants.  The first fight ended as a majority decision win for Santa Cruz (117-111, 117-111, and 114-114).  I agree with the first two scores, as the draw was more than a stretch.

Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) takes on Chris Avalos (27-5). At stake is Santa Cruz’s WBA World super featherweight title.


In order for Avalos to lift the title from Santa Cruz, he’s going to have to somehow get the jab working early and try to stay on the inside of Santa Cruz’s punches. He likes to mix it up and if he does, the close quarters will most likely be his domain as he needs to make it a rough and tumble fight.  Sometimes Santa Cruz gives up his height and allows opponents the inside advantage.

If I’m Avalos I look to be the counter-puncher in this matchup. Although Avalos is a relentless puncher, Santa Cruz is too, and with more speed. Avalos should use his toolbox of punches, as he throws a solid range of combinations.  Santa Cruz can be hit.

If he can get Santa Cruz to go backwards or at least be on his back foot, Avalos has a chance to do good work in this fight. If not, he needs to look for the counter hook.

Avalos needs to try to control the tempo of the fight as Frampton did in the first tussle with Santa Cruz. If he can double jab to the body to set up his explosive shots, he may fight pay dirt.

Santa Cruz

If Santa Cruz wants a second fight with Mares, he needs to dictate the pace against Avalos. Santa Cruz can apply pressure and throw tons of punches, yet not get into a firefight with Avalos.

He can do it by keeping Avalos at the end of his punches. Santa Cruz also needs to move forward consistently in this fight, behind a jab.  As well as he did against Frampton in the rematch, I’d like to see the Santa Cruz of old prior to his two fights with Irishman.

Santa Cruz is accurate with his punches and I believe the jab is a crucial key to success for him in this fight.

Santa Cruz has fast hands and throws at a high volume. He can move you were he wants at times with his pressure and can mix to the body and head.


I’d like to see a less aggressive Avalos, at least early on. I think he can buy some time and figure things out by countering Santa Cruz.

However, what I’d like to see and what Avalos does are two different things. I believe he’ll get aggressive and when he does, Leo is going to time him and take him out.

Leo Santa Cruz TKO between the 5th and 8th  rounds


Abner Mares (30-2-1) defends against Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1) for Mares’ WBA World featherweight title.


For Gutierrez to win I think he has to come out fast and take it to Mares. I’m not quite sure what Mares has left, which may sound like premature thought.  However, Mares has had eye injuries in the past, including a career-threatening detached retina.  He also failed a couple of eye exams, initially forcing the cancellation of his fight with Jesus Cuellar.

I’d like to see an attack to the body, but (and I don’t mean to sound cruel) he needs to go after the eye.

Gutierrez must look to overwhelm Mares and make it as uncomfortable in there for Mares as humanly possible by attacking Mares body mercifully. Mares on the flip side will have to use his big fight experience and dig into his bag of tricks and beat Gutierrez to the punch right off the jump. I’m taking Abner Mares by clear unanimous decision with some close hard to score rounds.

Gutierrez has a fantastic record, but the level of competition pails when compared to Mares. This is his opportunity and he should go for it.

If Gutierrez’s name sounds familiar, he’s the guy who was supposed to fight Carl Frampton earlier this year. Frampton missed weight and then Gutierrez fell in the shower. The result was deep gash on his chin, his nose, and he lost two teeth. See pictures below:



I think Gutierrez should play speed chess. He should attack Mares, but not brawl. Gutierrez has an excellent variety of punches. I love his jab. I love his left hook to the body and head in one quick motion.

He has a Manny Pacquiao type of guard where he has hands high and he bobs his head side to side. While it may be able to be timed at points in the fight, it gives Mares something to think about.


Abner Mares likes to pressure an opponent and try to take his will from him. He hits you to the head and goes downstairs to wear your body down. Sometimes south of the border. He’s rarely in a boring fight and I think this one steals the show.

Mares covets a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz and if he has anything left, he can thank his change in trainers to Robert Garcia who had him box well in his last win against Cuellar.

The key to Mares is to be the bully and make Gutierrez go backwards. If he does this, I like his chances. He should also use his experience and home advantage as Gutierrez hasn’t been in with big names outside of his lone loss.

I see Gutierrez moving, but not like Canelo against Golovkin. I see Chocolatito types of moves in there and Mares is going to attack his body to slow him down.


I think Gutierrez is coming to party on Saturday night. Mares is so focused on the Santa Cruz rematch that I think he may be there for the taking. Mares will win rounds simply by aggression, based on fighting at home in California for the tenth time as a pro.

While Mares has the experience and home crowd, I think Gutierrez has wrong style for him.

I’m calling the upset here!

Gutierrez by split decision

Results from Stubhub Center!

By Rahmon Ford reporting ringside

Carson, California – In a grueling and brutal twelve round affair, eight-time and five-division champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) dug deep to win a unanimous decision over Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-2-1, 21 KO’s). This will definitely be a finalist for 2014 fight of the year.

Guerrero made the fight tougher than expected by electing to slug it out with Kamegai. Guerrero suffered major damage to his left eye, which had a cut over the lid and was almost swollen shut. His corner did a superb job in holding the eye together as Guerrero was able to finish strong. This is the type of fight that takes a lot out of each fighter. Kamegai gave as much as he took and when the fight was over, judges saw it 116-112, 117-111, and 117-111. Hats off to both warriors for giving fans a great fight! While most predicted Lomachenko/Russell would be the night’s most entertaining bout, Guerrero and Kamegai stole the show. The Fight Journal scored the fight 116-112 for Guerrero.

Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO) scored a twelve round majority decision over previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs) of Washington, DC to capture the vacant WBO featherweight world championship. Russell was much busier on offense, but Lomachenko definitely landed the more powerful punches.

Russell was extremely busy in the first half of most rounds, while Lomachenko scored in the second half of each. However, the lateral movement displayed by Lomachenko was superb and the bodywork equally as impressive. In the final round, Russell seemed to have lost his balance in the final minute and absorbed some shots to the head that hopefully don’t result in damage later down the line. Pat Russell and Max DeLuca had it 116-112 for Lomachenko. Lisa Giampa was grossly off the mark with her 114-114 card. The Fight Journal scored it 116-112 for Lomachenko.

Former light welterweight champ Devon Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs) won a crowd pleasing ten round unanimous decision over Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-3, 18 KOs) in a catch-weight bout. Alexander, not known much as a crowd pleaser, chose to mix it up in spots to help create a very entertaining scrap. Scores were off the mark at 97-93, 99-91, 99-91. The Fight Journal scored the bout 96-94 for Alexander.

Former Light Heavyweight champion “Bad Chad” Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) won his first fight after a year layoff with a first round Knockout of George “Honey Boy” Blades (23-6, 16 KOs). Dawson was forced to pay $3,000 of his $15,000 purse for weighing in over the limit yesterday. Tonight he weighed in at 202 pounds. He didn’t have to worry about tiring in the late rounds as he dropped Blades twice en route to the stoppage. Blades went down with a body shot and waited until the count of ten to rise from the canvas. The referee waived the fight at 2:35 of the first round.

Two ex-U.S. Olympic heavyweights did battle as Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale (11-0, 10 KOs) scored a third round TKO against Devin Vargas (18-4, 7 KOs). Breazeale hurt Vargas in the first round and dropped Vargas in round two. Vargas bounced back and fought well in the third, but the bout was waved off by the referee when Vargas turned his back in the ropes. The referee ruled that Vargas “gave himself up” and felt he had no choice but to stop the fight. Time of the stoppage was 2:26 of the third.

Weights from Carson!

Robert Guerrero 146 vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai 146.7

Gary Russell Jr 125.5 vs. Vasyl Lomachenko 125.5
(WBO featherweight championship)

Devon Alexander 148.25 vs. Jesus Soto Karass 148
***Chad Dawson 182.8 vs. George Blades 177.5
Dominic Breazeale 251.6 vs. Devin Vargas 234
Sharif Bogere 136 vs. Miguel Zamudio 137
Michael Hunter 207.2 vs. Jerry Forrest 224.5
Vyacheslav Shabranskyy 175.25 vs. Michael Gbenga 172.75
Fabian Maidana 144.3 vs. Eddie Diz 149.8
Mark Anthony Hernandez 149.4 vs. Dante Stowers 151.25

*** Dawson fined $3,000 for not making contracted weight.

Stiverne vs. Arreola II… Extreme Hatred!

Folks, if this video below doesn’t get you excited about the heavyweight division, I’m not sure anything ever will.

With young stars like Bermane Stiverne, Chris Arreola, Bryant Jennings, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, and more- the landscape could soon shift back to the big man’s division.

Watch the extremely heated exchange between Stiverne and Arreola, Stiverne and Dan Goossen, Dan Goossen and Don King, and fans even got their shots in.

Check this fight out on a special ESPN broadcast this Saturday night at 8:00pm eastern time. The winner becomes either the first Mexican or first Haitian heavyweight champion (title vacated by Vitali Klitschko).

Tune in. This is going to be a good one!