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WBA orders Santa Cruz vs. Mares

Image: WBA orders Santa Cruz vs. Mares

By Dan Ambrose: The WBA has ordered a WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) to face WBA World featherweight champion Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs). The management for the two fighters has 30 days to try and negotiate the fight before the World Boxing Association orders a purse bid. This move by the WBA is part of their efforts to decrease the amount of titles they have in each weight division.

This will be a rematch for the two fighters, as Santa Cruz defeated Mares by a 12 round majority decision on August 29, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The fight was pretty one-sided in Santa Cruz’s favor. The judges scored it 117-111, 117-111 and 114-114. The judge that scored the fight a draw took a lot of heat from boxing fans, because they believed the fight to be a clear victory for Santa Cruz.

“WBA boxing orders Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares for WBA Featherweight Super Championship #WBAboxing #boxing,” said the WBA on their Twitter.

This is not good news for Carl Frampton, since he was hoping to get a rematch with Santa Cruz in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Santa Cruz beat Frampton by a 12 round majority decision earlier this year on January 28 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Frampton wanted an immediate rematch. He may still get a rematch, but it’ll have to wait for Santa Cruz to face Mares first. There’s no telling whether Santa Cruz will win that fight. If all Frampton cares about is getting a chance to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz without his WBA title being on the line, then it won’t matter if he loses to Mares.

Following Santa Cruz’s win over Mares in 2015, he beat Kiko Martinez by a 5th round TKO in February 2016, and then lost to Frampton by a 12 round majority decision in their first fight on July 30, 2016. That fight took place in front of a large pro-Frampton card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In the Frampton-Santa Cruz rematch last January, the fight took place in Las Vegas, Nevada in front of a crowd that was more evenly split among fans of both fighters.

Mares, 31, is coming off of a 12 round split decision win over WBA World featherweight champion Jesus Andres Cuellar on December 10 last year in Los Angeles, California. Mares dropped Cuellar in the 11th round and dominated most of the fight. Mares had been out of the ring for 15 months before that fight. Mares hadn’t fought since losing to Santa Cruz in August 2015. Mares fought surprisingly well against Cuellar for a fighter that had been out of the ring for almost a year and a half.

John Molina Jr. to fight in June

34-year-old former two-time world title challenger John Molina Jr. (29-7, 23 KOs) will be back in action in June against an opponent still to be determined, according to Ringtv. Molina Jr. hasn’t fought since losing to WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford by an 8th round knockout on December 10 last year in Omaha, Nebraska. There still isn’t a specific date or an opponent lined up for Molina, but he’ll be back inside the ring in June.

“We’re working on a fight with him for June,” said Molina’s manager Tom Brown via

The loss to Crawford ended a 2-fight winning streak for Molina Jr. He had beaten Ruslan Provodnikov and Jorge Romero in his 2 previous fights. Before that, Molina had lost 3 straight fights to Adrien Broner, Humberto Soto and Lucas Matthysse. Molina is still a pretty good fighter. He’s just not on the level of guys like Crawford, Broner, Matthysse or Soto. If Molina can hang around long enough at 140, he could swoop in and fight for one of Crawford’s two titles when he moves up in weight to 147 in a year or two. Crawford isn’t going to likely spend the remainder of his career at light welterweight because there’s big money to be made by him if he moves up a weight class.

Molina is a good puncher. If he could go after WBA champion Ricky Burns, he would have a good chance of winning a title. Unfortunately for Molina, Crawford is targeting that title. He may get to it before him.

Nathan Cleverly vs. Badou Jack fight up in the air

Eddie Hearn, the promoter for WBA World light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs), says he hasn’t heard back from the promoters for former WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack (20-1-3, 12 KOs). Cleverly and Jack want to face each other next, but according to Hearn, Jack’s management never got back to him when he reached out to them to try and put a fight together.

“I’ve told my team, this is the fight I want! Waiting on you guys ,” said Cleverly on his Twitter.

This is what Badou said:

“Nathan Cleverly, where we at? Well I’m ready.”

Here’s what Hearn said on his Twitter:

”We never heard back!”

It’s unclear what the issue is with Jack’s management. It would seem like the perfect fight for. Jack is promoted by Floyd Mayweather Jr. If they’re not replaying back, then perhaps tey have other plans on store for Jack right now.

Badou fought to a 12 round draw against IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale on January 14 this year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It was the second consecutive draw for Badou. He fought well enough to deserve the victory in the view of a lot of boxing fans, but the judge didn’t feel that he’d done enough to be given the ‘W.’ In Jack’s fight before that, he fought to a 12 round draw against Lucian Bute on April 30 last year.

Cleverly, 30, is coming off of a 6th round stoppage victory over WBA World light heavyweight champion Juerge Braehmer on October 1, 2016. It was an impressive performance by Cleverly, as he went over to Germany and beat Braehmer in front of his own boxing fans. Cleverly beat Braehmer with a high volume punch attack. Braehmer was winning the fight with his cleaner landing shots, but he suffered an arm injury and couldn’t continue after round 6 had ended. There’s been talk of a rematch between Cleverly and Braehmer, but it’s unclear when that fight will happen if ever.

Badou Jack would have a very good chance of beating Cleverly if that fight ever took place. Jack has the punching power and the size to give Cleverly all kinds of problems.

Jack might make more money fighting WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson or IBF/WBA/WBO champion Andre Ward. Those would be nice paydays for Jack if he could get either of those fights.

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