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Haney vs. Santiago & Saunders vs. Coceres – official weights

Billy Joe Saunders

By Dan Ambrose: WBO super middleweight Billy Joe Saunders, Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Devin Haney and Alfredo Santiago all made weight on Friday for their respective fights this Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

These are fights that were thrown together in a mad rush by promoter Eddie Hearn. As one would expect, they’re NOT supposed to be competitive affairs.

The Saunders-Coceres and Haney-Santiago are showcase fights for Haney and Saunders. They’ll be showcasing their talent in front of legions of casual fans, many of which won’t be tuning in to see either of them.

WBC lightweight champion Haney (23-0, 15 KOs) weighed in at 135 pounds, and his opponent Santiago (12-0, 4 KOs) also weighed in at 135 lbs. This is Haney’s first title defense of his World Boxing Council 135-lb title that he won outside of the ring last October.

Haney expected to make easy work of Santiago

Challenger Alfredo Santiago comes into the fight with Haney with little in the way of experience as a professional. His best win of his 4-year pro career came against former WBA featherweight champion Jonathan Victor Barros last December.

Santiago beat the 35-year-old Barros by a 10 round unanimous decision. However, this wasn’t a prime Barros that Santiago fought, and likely would have lost to him if he were still in his prime of his career.

The lack of punching power for Santiago puts him at a tremendous disadvantage against Haney, but this fight was never meant to be competitive. Santiago is basically just a filler to give Haney an opponent for him to fight so that he showcase his skills in front of casual boxing fans.

The WBC upgraded Haney to lightweight champion after they elevated previous champion Vasiliy Lomachenko to their newly created Franchise champion. Haney had worked hard to try and get a title shot against Lomachenko, but the WBC foiled his attempts by changing Loma’s status to Franchise champion.

Before that happened, Haney had won the interim WBC title by beating Zaur Abdullaev (11-1, 7 KOs) by a 4th round knockout on September 13

Saunders vs. Coceres weigh-in results

WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) weighed in at 167.4 lbs. for his first title defense against fringe contender Marcelo Coceres (28-0-1, 15 KOs). The Argentinian fighter Coceres weighed in at 168 lbs. Like the Haney vs. Santiago fight, this is a mismatch. Coceres was pulled in to give Saunders an opponent for him to fight on the KSI vs. Logan Paul 2 undercard. Given that Hearn had little time to find an opponent for Saunders, Coceres was the best that he could find on short notice.

As far as Coceres’ credentials go, his best wins have come against these guys:

  • Sebastian Andres Lujan
  • Cesar Humberto Velez
  • Carmelito De Jesus
  • Basilio Silva

Of those bunch, Lujan is the only recognizable name, and he was nowhere near his prime when Coceres fought him. Lujan is 40-years-old. You get the picture.

Saunders captured the WBO super middleweight title last May in beating Shefat Isufi by a 12 round unanimous decision. It’s unclear why the World Boxing Organization sanctioned a fight between Saunders and the little known Isufi, as there are better contenders that Billy Joe could have fought for the WBO belt. Saunders beat Isufi by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision to capture the vacant WBO 168-lb title.

During one point in the fight, Saunders got a little cocky and left himself wide open for a right hand counter from Isufi that staggered him badly. Saunders staggered across the ring, and fell into the ropes. He then grabbed Isufi to keep him from knocking him flat.

Saunders and Haney were willing to fight on KSI-Paul undercard

Hearn thought it would be a good idea to let Haney and Saunders get visibility on the undercard of the Youtube celebrity match between NON-boxers KSI and Logan Paul.

It’s a controversial move on Haney and Saunders’ part to have agreed to be on the undercard for this event, as some boxing fans feel that they’re demeaning themselves by agreeing to do this.  Hopefully, Hearn doesn’t continue to do these things in the future. It’s off putting to see talented fighters like Saunders and Haney reduced to fighting on undercards of NON-boxers with no background in boxing.

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