There’s some fine featherweight action on tap at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California this Saturday, August 29th as former three-division world champion Abner Mares of Mexico is set to meet undefeated countryman Leo Santa Cruz. The 12-round bout can be seen live in North America on ESPN as a part of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series. Both boxers now fight out of California.
Mares vs Santa Cruz Betting Odds
- Abner Mares +175
- Leo Santa Cruz -205
The 27-year-old Santa Cruz of Rosemead, California enters the ring with a perfect record of 30-0 along with 17 Kos while the 29-year-old Mares of Montebello, California is 29-1-1 with 15 Kos. Santa Cruz is just over 5-feet-7-inches tall and will have a three-inch height advantage over Mares. He also has a three-inch advantage in the reach department with a 66-inch wingspan compared to Mares’ 66 inches. Santa Cruz has boxed 175 rounds as a pro since 2006 while Mares has 228 under his belt since 2005. However, Mares has fought tougher opposition such as Vic Darchinyan, Jhonny Gonzalez, Yonnhy Perez, and Joseph Agbeko. His lone loss was a first-round stoppage against Gonzalez in 2013 and his draw came against Perez in 2010.
But even though Santa Cruz has a height and reach advantage in this fight, it might not be much of a factor since he prefers to work inside and trade shots. Mares fought for his homeland of Mexico in the 2004 Olympics. He won the IBF Bantamweight crown in December of 2010 when he beat Joseph Agbeko by a majority decision. He then beat Agbeko soon after in a rematch. He captured the vacant WBC 122 lb belt by beating Eric Morel and won his third world title as a featherweight when he stopped veteran Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico in the ninth round. However, Gonzalez took him out in his first title defence and he’s won his last three bouts against Grade B opponents.
Santa Cruz has a fan-friendly style and has held world title belts in the 118 and 122 lb divisions. However, critics point out that he hasn’t met any current elite boxers who have been in their prime. This contest against Mares should be his toughest to date as it’s definitely a step up in class for him. Santa Cruz likes to initiate the action by throwing volume punches from all angles. He’s got a pretty good defence and has decent power with a knockout ratio of 55 per cent. However, he’s not regarded as a big knockout puncher. Mares has better all-round boxing skills and owns a knockout ratio of 48 per cent. He can also brawl with the best of them when he has to. His best bet will be to try and catch Santa Cruz when he leaves himself open.
Mares could also turn the tables on Santa Cruz here by being the aggressor and pushing the pace. He’ll need to jab his way on the inside though and keep the pressure on his opponent. Santa Cruz is used to dictating the pace and overwhelming his opponents with punches, but he may have met his match here in Mares. This should result in a good action fight with several shifts in momentum.
Mares’ experience against tougher foes should help him out in this fight. He can box as well as brawl and even though he has the size disadvantage could be a bit too much for Santa Cruz to handle. As long as Mares can take Santa Cruz’s power shots he should be able to do enough to come out of this fight with a relatively close decision.
The oddsmakers have this as a close fight and they should be right in that respect. I’d go with Mares in a slight betting upset due to his experience and style.
Play: Mares +175 @ BetOnline.ag
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