Leo Santa Cruz vs. Chris Avalos – Results
By Dan Ambrose: Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) and Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) both emerged victorious on Saturday night in their stay busy/show case fights against over-matched opponents Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) and Andres Gutierrez (35-2-1, 25 KOs) on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox from the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Santa Cruz was like a machine with the way he beat Avalos. It wasn’t as if Avalos wasn’t competitive. It was more of a case of Santa Cruz building steam with each round, and getting stronger and landing wicked shots. Avalos’ head was getting whip-lashed repeatedly in the 8th round by the huge punches from Santa Cruz. Avalos was defenseless to stop the big shots from Santa Cruz. Avalos probably would have made it out of the round, but he was going to take a pounding in the final 4 rounds of the fight from Santa Cruz. If the referee had allowed the fight to continue, it was only a matter of time before Santa Cruz knocked Avalos clean out with one of his big right hands,
Santa Cruz and Mares will now fight each other in early 2018, barring any unforeseen injuries.
Santa Cruz beat Avalos by an 8th round stoppage. Santa Cruz was hitting the hurt and worn out Avalos with nonstop painful looking shots in the 8th round when referee Thomas Taylor decided he’d seen enough and stepped in and stopped the slaughter. The official time of the stoppage was at 1:34 of round 8. Boing News 24 had Santa Cruz well ahead in the fight by 7 rounds to 0 by the start of the 8th.
With the defeat, Avalos has now lost 4 out of his last 6 fights.
Avalos came into Saturday’s fight against Santa Cruz ranked #11 with the World Boxing Association. It might be a good time for the WBA to drop Avalos from the top 15, because it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t rate a top tier ranking. What’s surprising is Avalos keeps getting big fights against top fighters despite him losing repeatedly. This was Avalos’s second title shot in the last 2 years. You would think that with Avalos losing 3 out of his last 5 fights going into the fight tonight, he wouldn’t be fighting for a world title against Santa Cruz. I guess it sometimes pays off to lose in boxing.
All the momentum was in the champs favor halfway through the fight as he continued to let his hands go as Avalos was on the receiving end. Ripping away with the left hook to the body in the seventh Santa Cruz stayed on top of Avalos. However in the eighth after a series of punches from Santa Cruz referee Thomas Taylor stepped in and stopped Avalos from further damage stopping the fight at 1:34.
Santa Cruz, 29, had the easier mismatch of the two with him facing high level journeyman fighter Chris Avalos, who came into the fight with a 2-3 record in his last 5 fights since 2015. It’s not too often that a world champion faces an opponent with 3 defeats in his last 5 fights, but that’s what we saw with Santa Cruz defending his World Boxing Association Super World featherweight title against the hapless 27-year-old Avalos.
It would have been nice if Santa Cruz’s management had done the boxing fans a favor by setting him up with an opponent that was doing a little better career-wise than Avalos. It’s sort of inexplicable when you see a champion fighting someone that is struggling with their career the way that Avalos is right now. Avalos used to be a good fighter though before he started facing quality opposition 2 years ago. Avalos did great against weak opponents. It’s when he started fighting the good fighters is when he started having his problems.
Santa Cruz did his homework well on Avalos, obviously having seen his recent losses to Mark Magsayo, Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez. Santa Cruz wasn’t in a rush in throwing to the body of Avalos in round 1, taking his time and landing his punches in precise spots to wear him down.
Santa Cruz stalked Avalos in round 2, nailing him with hooks to the head and body. Avalos fired back well with his own hard punches, but he didn’t have nearly the same power that Santa Cruz did with his big shots.
Santa was working Avalos over in round 3 and 4, hurting him with big punches. Avalos didn’t have the sense to know when to back, which is obviously why he came into the fight having lost 3 out of his last 5 fights. Avalos was staggered in round 4 and lucky he wasn’t knocked out in the round. If there was a little more time left in round 4, Santa Cruz would have ended matters right then and there.
Rounds 5 through 7, Santa Cruz landed well to the punching bag, I mean, Avalos, and it wasn’t pretty. The referee was looking closely at the action in those rounds, looking as if he was concerned with how much punishment that Avalos was soaking up. Santa Cruz was showing no signs of tiring, and it was clear that eventually something would give. Avalos’ corner would have done well to stop the fight by the 6th to save him needless punishment because it was clear that he wasn’t going to win the fight.
In the 8th, Santa Cruz continued to batter Avalos until the referee did the right thing and stopped the match. Avalos looked in bad shape by the end of the fight.
In the other mismatch on tonight’s StubHub card, Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) beat the living daylights out of Andres Gutierrez (35-2-1, 25 KOs) in winning a 10 round technical decision. The scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
It was easy target practice for Mares in beating up on the 24-year-old Gutierrez, who hadn’t earned the title shot, unless you considering losing to Cristian Mijares as counting as earning a title shot. Gutierrez had recently been beaten by the 36-year-old Mijares.
Gutierrez was cut over his left eye in round 2 from a hard shot from Mares.
Rounds 2 through 7, Mares landed well with his jabs and combinations. He was giving Gutierrez a boxing lesson in there and making him look like he was a rank amateur instead of a pro. Gutierrez could have made it interesting if he had some punching power to keep Mares honest, but he didn’t have any o speak of. Gutierrez was hitting Mares with hard enough shots to bother him.
In the 8th, Gutierrez’s cut left eye was bleeding all over the place, and it was obvious that the fight needed to be stopped soon, because it was too much blood. If Gutierrez was fighting effectively, then it would have made sense to let the fight go as long as it needed to for him to have a chance to win a decision or a knockout. Unfortunately, Gutierrez was totally over-matched.
The bleeding from Gutierrez’s left eye got worse in the 9th, causing him to squint to try and see through the blood that was constantly leaking into his eye. The fight was halted in the 10th round. It was too much blood from the cut.
Based on how Santa Cruz and Mares looked tonight, I would have to favor Santa Cruz to win their rematch next year. Santa Cruz has too much power and too much size for Mares. Santa Cruz has more ways to win than Mares does.
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