Inside the Mind of Your Favorite Bartender

Santa Cruz vs. Mares preview

Tonight, August 29, will probably be the most exciting major PBC main event to date. Two Mexican stars step into the squared circle for bragging rights of the City of Los Angeles and their native country.

Since the inception of the PBC, there have been some big fights that have generated big numbers for networks such as NBC, CBS, Spike TV and others. However, big fights don’t always bring big action, that includes Pay Per View and cable TV fights on HBO and Showtime. Although I’m a huge fan of the PBC, I recognize the PBC hasn’t had that one fight with the top names in boxing that has garnered fight of the year consideration. Tonight might change that.

Enter Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz, both Mexican natives now living and fighting out of Los Angeles, CA. Mares, the former three time world champion in three different weight classes is 29-1-1, his lone defeat coming at the hands of Mexican veteran Jhonny Gonzalez in a first round KO. Most boxing analysts viewed Mares’ loss to Gonzalez as an upset.

Santa Cruz is a two time world champion in two different weight classes. He is the current WBC Super Bantamweight Champion and tonight will be fighting only his second fight in the Featherweight division.

Santa Cruz has been heavily criticized lately by media and fans alike for the level of competition he has fought in his last few fights, however, he has always made one thing clear after each of these fights, he wanted Mares in an all Mexican, all L.A. showdown to prove who is the best at their weight from their respective region.

Santa Cruz, 30-0-1 said via ESPN, “I wanted to listen to the fans and the criticism, and then I wished I could choose and say I’m going to fight this fighter, and just go on ahead and fight him. But I had to leave it to my team,” Santa Cruz said. “They’re here to protect me. They know what’s right. So that’s why I listen to [Haymon, and to Santa Cruz’s father/trainer Jose Santa Cruz] and they know what’s best. But sooner or later, I’m going to fight the fight that the fans want.”

Both combatants are extremely good boxers that like to mix it up; however, I have to favor Santa Cruz in this fight. Although he has fought lesser competition than Mares, I feel that Leo’s come forward style and his ability to slip punches while coming forward gives him the advantage over Mares, who is by far the more experienced fighter.

Mares, who has faced top level fighters in every division he has fought in, has been knocked out before, therefore, I expect him to be somewhat cautious in the early rounds against Santa Cruz, allowing Santa Cruz to rack up points in the early rounds. Once Mares begins to open up, I see Santa Cruz taking advantage of those openings and getting the better of Mares in exchanges.

I see a late stoppage for Santa Cruz or an unanimous decision victory for Santa Cruz. For Mares to win, I feel as if he has to get a knockout because even if Mares appears to be winning on points, I still think the decision goes to Santa Cruz.

Either way, I am excited to see this fight tonight on PBC on ESPN, 10P ET/7P PT live from the Stales Center in Los Angeles, CA.


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