Leo Santa Cruz vs Kiko Martinez Preview February 27th
Unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz of Mexico will be defending his WBA Super World Featherweight Championship against former junior featherweight titleholder Kiko Martinez of Spain at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Saturday, February 27. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the U.S. on the Showtime Network. The winner of the fight is supposed to meet the winner of the Scott Quigg vs Carl Frampton super bantamweight bout which will also be held on Feb 27 in Manchester, England and can also be seen on Showtime. Martinez lost his IBF crown to Frampton in 2014 and was stopped in the second round by Quigg .
Santa Cruz vs Martinez Betting Odds
- Kiko Martinez +1200
- Leo Santa Cruz -2500
The 27-year-old Santa Cruz, who fights out of the Los Angeles area, has a near-perfect record of 31-0-1 along with 17 Kos. He’s already won world bantamweight and junior featherweight titles, but decided to move up in weight and captured the vacant WBA featherweight belt when he beat fellow countryman Abner Mares by majority decision last August. It was an action-packed fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and this bout against the hard-hitting Martinez could also be quite fan friendly.
The 29-year-old Martinez has a record of 35-6 with 26 Kos to his name. He’s won four of his last six contests including three straight. However, he’s always stumbled when fighting the elite of his weight division and the recent victories have been against weaker opposition. He lost a wide decision to Frampton back in 2014 and was stopped quickly by Quigg last summer. Martinez has a heavy punch with a 63 per cent knockout ratio, but he’s also been stopped twice as Frampton also knocked him out in a 2013 meeting. However, that’s what makes Martinez’s fights so exciting. He stands 5-foot-5 with a 66-inch reach and has 227 rounds to his name since turning pro in 2004.
Santa Cruz has a three-inch reach advantage as well as a 1.5-inch edge in height. He has a 53 per cent knockout ratio and has fought 17 rounds since turning pro in 2006. Both boxers have a lot of experience in title fights, but Santa Cruz has won all of his against top-class opponents. This will be Martinez’s second trip to America. He came over in 2013 beat Jhonatan Romero in Atlantic City to capture the IBF World Super Bantamweight title by knockout. Martinez defended his crown twice before Frampton took it from him.
Martinez shouldn’t be taken lightly by Santa Cruz since he’s a good boxer with considerable power. The champion should use his physical advantages though and make sure that he throws a lot of punches to keep Martinez on the back foot. Santa Cruz is more of a volume puncher than a knockout artist and he shouldn’t change his style here. Martinez has a somewhat questionable chin, but could still be standing in the late rounds. If Santa Cruz fights his usual nonstop punching fight then he should keep his title by decision or late stoppage.
Santa Cruz has a puncher’s chance, but that’s probably it.
Play: Santa Cruz -2500 @ BetOnline.ag
Check out my recent boxing betting picks to see my current form.