Mares-Moreno, Angulo-Casarez & Cleverly-Hawk predictions
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) By Dan Ambrose: Tomorrow night on Showtime’s stacked card the following set of fighters will be going at it at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California: Abner Mares (24-0-1, 13 KO’s) vs. Anselmo Moreno (33-1-1, 12 KO’s), WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO’s) vs. Shawn Hawk (23-2-1, 17 KO’s), IBF bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KO’s) vs. Victor Zaleta (20-2-1, 10 KO’s), and Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17 KO’s) vs. Raul Casarez (19-2, 9 KO’s).
Mares vs. Moreno
Mares weighed in at 121.8 lbs during Friday’s weigh-in and looked to be in sensational shape. He’s definitely ready for this fight and he understands that he’s going to have to put steady but intelligent pressure on the 27-year-old Moreno for the entire fight because he’s so good at moving around and being slick. If Mares don’t apply a lot of pressure, Moreno will simply box his way to an easy decision. However, Mares also can’t just bum rush Moreno because that’s been tried many times before in the past, most notably by Vic Darchinyan and it just doesn’t work. Moreno is good at picking off aggressive fighters on the way in.
Mares has looked good as of late, winning Showtime’s bantamweight tournament by beating Joseph Abgbeko, easily defeating Eric Morel and also getting a win over Darchinyan. Mares did struggle a little against Yonnhy Perez in 2010 in fighting to a draw, so it’s clear he’s not unbeatable.
I see Moreno boxing his way to a decision in this fight. He’s too hard to hit solidly because of his defensive style of fighting and he’s all wrong for the inside fighting Mares.
Prediction: Moreno by 12 unanimous decision over Mares.
Angulo vs. Casarez
Junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo is coming off of a long one-year layoff from the ring following his time spent in an immigration facility in El Cerrito, California. Angulo was beaten pretty badly the last time he fought by James Kirkland by a 6th round stoppage and that loss showed that Angulo can’t handle hand speed and he’s already been exposed as having problems with fighters that move. Casarez doesn’t have those qualities going for him and has been picked out specifically because of his tendency to slug it out with his opponents. No doubt Casarez has been told to try and box Angulo, but it’s going to be difficult for Casarez to switch from slugging to boxing in one training camp. As such, I see Angulo bludgeoning Casarez into submission.
Prediction: Angulo by 6th round TKO over Casarez.
Cleverly vs. Hawk
WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly is getting one of the weaker opponents on the card despite the fact that he’s making a title defense. His opponent Shawn Hawk isn’t rated in the top 15 and hasn’t looked too good recently in losses to Matt Godfrey and Eleider Alvarez. Hawk lost his last fight, and he’s very slow. He makes it even worse for himself by his slow manner of pulling the trigger. Hawk waits and waits and waits before he finally throws his shots and he ends up getting nailed a lot. Being naturally slow of hand makes things even more difficult for him.
Cleverly’s not much of a puncher so I can’t see him getting a stoppage in this fight.
Prediction: Cleverly by 12 round unanimous decision over Hawk.
Santa Cruz vs. Zaleta
IBF bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz will be defending his belt against an easy non-top 15 ranked fighter Victor Zaleta. Santa Cruz is wiping out everyone he’s been facing lately, whereas Zaleta is coming off of a 12 round draw in his last fight agaisnt Juan Jose Montes last June. Zaleta was beaten by WBO super flyweight champion Omar Narvaez in February of last year in a one-sided 12 round decision loss.
Santa Cruz will take this fight. He may have to go the distance but he’ll win in a convincing fashion.
Prediction: Santa Cruz by 12 round unanimous decision over Zaleta.