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Leo Santa Cruz vs. Chris Avalos – Weights

Abner Mares Leo Santa Cruz

By Dan Ambrose: WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) made weight on Friday in weighing in at 125.4 pounds for his voluntary title defense against #11 WBA fringe contender Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) for their fight this Saturday night on Fox at the StubHub Center, in Carson, California. Avalos, 27, weighed in at 126 lbs.

(Photo credit: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions)

It’s difficult to understand what the mindset is for Santa Cruz’s management to select Avalos as his opponent. Avalos has lost 3 out of his last 5 fights, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Santa Cruz to be giving him a title shot. There are a lot of more deserving contenders in the featherweight division than Avalos to be fighting for a world title. Santa Cruz is fighting Avalos in the main event, but it’s really a bad fight for even an undercard fight. Santa Cruz is a good enough fighter to face a top contender without needing to worry about the potential of getting beaten.

The card is promoted by Ringstar Sports, and it’s a card put together to help attract interest in a rematch between Santa Cruz and WBA World featherweight champion Abner Mares, who is fighting in the co-feature bout against Andres Gutierrez.

In other weights on the card, WBA World featherweight champion Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) weighed in at 126 lbs. for his title defense against #12 WBA Andres “Jaguarcito” Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs). Gutierrez weighed in at 126 lbs. a well. This is actually a pretty decent fight. It’s not a great one by any means, but it’s a decent one. Gutierrez, 24, was beaten 2 fights ago by former super flyweight champion Cristian Mijares by a 12 round majority decision by a 12 round majority decision in June 2016. It was a close fight, but Gutierrez clearly lost. The scores were 116-112, 114-113 for Mijares and 114-114. Boxing News 24 scored it 116-112 for Mijares.

Gutierrez fell apart in that fight and got decisively beaten by Mijares. Just 2 years earlier, Mijares was beaten by Santa Cruz by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109. Mares, 31, would have been better off fighting Mijares than taking on Gutierrez, but I’m not sure if the idea if for him to get a stern test. I get the feeling that the whole idea for the Santa Cruz-Avalos and Mares-Gutierrez fights are to make Mares and Santa Cruz look as good as they can so that it whets the appetite for the casual boxing fans to see those two face each other in early 2018.

The casual fans won’t have a clue this Saturday night that Mares and Santa Cruz are facing weak opposition designed to make them look good. It’s too bad though, because there are some very good contenders in the featherweight division that could give Santa Cruz and Mares a really tough test. It would be ideal if Mares were facing Carl Frampton and Santa Cruz fighting Scott Quigg. Those would be fights that the boxing fans would get their money’s worth. Mares would have his hands full against Frampton, and Santa Cruz would definitely struggle against Quigg.


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