By Jim Dower: The World Boxing Association are reportedly on the verge of ordering a fight between WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) and WBA World featherweight champion Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) in a move to narrow down the WBA’s titles in each weight class.
The WBA currently has two champions at 126 with Santa Cruz holding the WBA Super title and Mares possessing the WBA World [regular] belt. According to Fight News, the WBA could order the Santa Cruz-Mares fight within a week unless Santa Cruz is able to negotiate a third fight with Carl Frampton, who he recently beat by a 12 round majority decision on January 28.
Frampton wants a third fight with Santa Cruz. However, Frampton wants the fight to take place in his home city of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Santa Cruz’s dad/trainer Jose Santa Cruz is against the idea of Leo fighting in Belfast, as he believes that it could be some controversy if the fight is staged over there.
Santa Cruz lost a controversial decision to Frampton in their first fight on July 30 last year in New York in front of a large pro-Frampton crowd. In their second fight last January, Santa Cruz barely beat Frampton on the three judges’ score cards by the scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114.
It looked to most boxing fans that Santa Cruz won by a wider set of scores than the ones handed down by the judges working the fight. The 114-114 score by one of the judges looked like he didn’t see the same fight that the boxing fans saw. The fight definitely wasn’t a draw. With that kind of scoring in the U.S for the first two fights, it’s hard to imagine Santa Cruz getting a better deal by fighting Frampton in the UK in front of large group of his supporters.
Santa Cruz already beat Mares by a 12 round majority decision on August 29, 2016. That appeared to be a clear win for Santa Cruz. He used his long reach and strong jab to box Mares from the outside. It was pretty one-sided. The judge that scored the fight a draw seemed to have gotten the fight wrong. Watching the same fight, Mares did not do enough to deserve a draw in that fight. He lost. A second fight between Santa Cruz and Mares would likely be the same outcome with Santa Cruz easily winning. He’s a better inside fighter and has the better jab.
Mares fought last year in defeating WBA World featherweight champion Jesus Andres Cuellar by a 12 round split decision on December 10.