Not so long ago Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares fight could have been bigger. But in that particular time, two years ago, they refused to fight each other.
Mares (29-1-1, 15 KOs) insisted that Santa Cruz at time is not a step up fight, and he wanted only to fight the best. And one of the best at that time is Nonito Donaire, but because of boxing’s cold war the Donaire fight is frozen several negative degrees south of the thermometer and it stayed like that.
Instead of Santa Cruz and Mares facing each other, they found separate ways.
Both men fought different opponents and had unfavorable outcome. Mares was frozen by Jhonny Gonzalez in the very first round in a fight he’s expected to dominate being on his peak, while the older Gonzalez was somewhat on the decline at that time.
On the other hand, Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17 KO’s) although remained undefeated, has shown some weaknesses to lower caliber opponent. He showed a lot of flaws against lesser opposition that he should had easily defeated. He stepped down to his opponent’s level. Maybe he became complacent in training?
Now, even if they found different ways at the time they should have fought, still the road leads to one another. They will finally meet at the Staples Center to headline PBC on ESPN. But is it the perfect timing?
When Pacquiao was iced by Juanma in 2012, Pacquiao cameback strong and won convincingly against Rios, Bradley and Algieri. Until the fans interest for a Mayweather fight came back. We had the richest fight in May, although outcome is action poor.
But for Uncle Al Haymon Santa Cruz vs. Mares stalling this fight longer doesn’t make it even better. He can’t wait no more. They should fight now or else they can’t salvage any fan interest.
With that said, I think this is gonna be war! Both men needed to win this fight, otherwise the loser for sure will not be able to reach the peak of the mountain, but instead make at a short cut to the side and go downhill.
Santa Cruz 27 years old, and Mares 29 years old don’t want this to happen in their career at this point. This is a must-win fight for both of them. Many expected that this fight might lead to a trilogy. Some expected a Morales-Barrera like outcome or a Marquez-Vazquez. And I agree. This could be a classic all Mexican war. This is also a battle for who’s the best featherweight fighter in California!
Don’t miss this fight live on ESPN/ESPN Deportes at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.