Unbeaten interim WBA Super Featherweight Champion Chris “Primetime” Colbert will look to make a statement in his first nationally televised main event as he faces hard-hitting Jaime Arboleda live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
“I always knew I was going to get here,” said Colbert. “It’s all God’s plan. This is just going to be another day for me and I’ll show everyone why I’m one of the best 130-pounders in the world.”
The 24-year-old Colbert has shot up the rankings of the 130-pound weight class and believes that a victory on Saturday night will lead to bigger opportunities in the jam-packed division.
“This is one of the most stacked divisions in boxing and I love competing in it,” said Colbert. “It’s great to be getting noticed in a division that has this much talent, and hopefully it’ll lead to me getting the big fights that I need. I don’t feel like there’s any certain fighter I’m targeting, but Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz and Jamel Herring would all be great fights for me. Beating them would help me become ‘the guy’ in the division.”
Colbert‘s rise continued in his last fight, as he scored a 10th-round knockdown against former champion Jezreel Corrales on his way to a decision win while showing an impressive array of skills against a fighter determined to slow the action through holding and other veteran tricks.
“Against Corrales I learned not to rush,” said Colbert. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I can’t just go rush in there and expect everyone to get knocked out. I had to take my time, do what I do best and stick to my game plan.”
In the 26-year-old Arboleda, Colbert will be presented with another rising 130-pound contender with his own sights set on emerging amongst the elite in the division. Arboleda has won five of his last six fights by stoppage and most recently dropped Jayson Velez on his way to a decision victory in February on SHOWTIME.
“Come December 12, I’m ready for whatever he brings,” said Colbert. “I expect him to bring pressure and ‘try’ to make me tired because that’s the only chance he has. He can’t outbox me. That’s not happening. But I love to bang inside and I’m ready for whatever he does. I hope he doesn’t run or clinch me because I’d love to get the knockout and get him out of there early.”
The Brooklyn-native Colbert has continued to work with his longtime coach Aureliano Sosa in his hometown through the difficulties of the pandemic. Those difficulties have led to Colbert sparring with larger welterweight and super welterweights in camp, which Colbert believes could help him with the power Arboleda will bring into the fight.
“Training camp has been going great for the most part,” said Colbert. “It’s just been a little hard finding sparring partners. But because it’s been difficult to find fighters at my weight I’ve actually been sparring with 147 and 154-pound fighters. I honestly love that because it prepares me better, and who’s to say that Arboleda won’t have power like them? I’m on weight now, though, and ready to put on a show on December 12.”
Gervonta Davis(24-0, 23 KOs) headlined his first pay-per-view on Saturday night, and it was a rousing success. Davis delivered a Knockout of the Year candidate over four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz(37-2, 19 KOs) in the most important fight of his career, retaining his WBA(regular) Lightweight title and picking up the WBA Super Featherweight title at the Alamodome in San Antonio(Showtime PPV).
It was the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since COVID-19 forced a halt to U.S. sports in March with an announced crowd of 9,024.
The fight, which was contested at 130 pounds, saw both fighters stand in the pocket and press the action. Santa Cruz had some success at times in the fight, but in the sixth round, Davis found an opening to land his trademark left uppercut, a knockout shot that Santa Cruz never saw coming. Davis proved that he is one of the most powerful punchers in the sport, stunning the crowd. Watch the KO HERE.
“The uppercut wasn’t the key coming into the fight, but I adapted to what he was bringing,” said Baltimore’s Davis. “I knew he was taller and crouching down and moving forward. Once he moved forward, I tried to jab and make him run into the shot. He was right there for it. He punches, but he doesn’t try to get out of the way. There was nowhere for him to go on that knockout because I got him into the corner.
The power and body attack of the 25-year-old Davis was the difference as he landed 55 percent of his power punches to 29 percent for Santa Cruz, who was having his best round of the fight in the sixth round prior to the defining punch. The stronger Davis lured the 32-year-old Santa Cruz into a firefight as 34 of Davis’ 84 landed punches were body shots.
“Leo is a tough warrior and a strong Mexican fighter,” said Davis. “He came ready for me. I was just the better fighter tonight. I want to maintain both belts. Whatever decision me and my team comes up with, we’ll go with it. I’m not ducking or dodging anybody. I’m a pay-per-view star. Everybody knows I’m number one, and I showed it tonight.”
“We didn’t get the win, but I’m okay,” said Santa Cruz, who was taken to a nearby hospital for observation.
What’s next for Baltimore’s Davis? Well, WBC 126-pound champion Gary Russell, a D.C native and signed to PBC, is looking to move up to 130, so a Baltimore vs. D.C. battle would be intriguing. Also, Ryan Garcia(Golden Boy Promotions) is out there, and he’s very popular, but that won’t be easy because of the promotional situation.
However, to get some of the belt holders at 135 or 130, Davis would have to cross the street to fight unified 135-pound champion Teofimo Lopez(Top Rank), or if he wants another belt at 130, again, he would have to cross the street to fight the other champions(Jamel Herring/WBO, Joseph Diaz/IBF, Miguel Berchelt/WBC).
No matter what’s next, it’s time for bigger fights for Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Gervonta “Tank” Davis hosts a virtual media workout tonight ahead of their SHOWTIME PPV main event showdown taking place Saturday, October 31 live from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
For WBA(regular) 135-pound champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis(23-0, 22 KOs), October 31 will be an opportunity to make a statement when he battles WBA 130-pound champion Leo Santa Cruz(37-1-1, 19 KOs) at the Alamodome in San Antonio and Showtime pay-per-view.
Both belts will be on the line in this fight, and October 31 will be Davis’ first time headlining a pay-per-view, so it will be an opportunity to prove that he can be a pay-per-view attraction.
Davis has drawn huge crowds in his past few fights. The 25-year-old Davis recently drew large crowds in Baltimore and Atlanta, which according to his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, means Davis is ready to be a pay-per-view star.
“When ‘Tank’ was very young, I told him that at some point he’d be on pay-per-view and now we’re here,” Mayweather said on Tuesday at a virtual press conference. “I’ve always been a fan of Leo’s as well. Both fighters deserve this, the fans deserve this, and I want to see these fighters at their best on fight night. Go out and give the fans what they want to see.
“I know ‘Tank’ is ready for pay-per-view because his fan base is really growing. The demographic that follows him is getting bigger. With Leo being popular on the West Coast and in Texas, he’ll bring a huge following as well. This fight can only be on pay-per-view, in my opinion.”
Fortunately for Davis, he will have Mayweather in his corner, who knows a lot about what it takes to be a pay-per-view star. Mayweather was apart of the top three highest-grossing pay-per-views in boxing history.
“Floyd’s been there coaching me through what comes with having my first pay-per-view main event fight,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of pressure on me, and you have to live up to fighting on pay-per-view so you can fight on pay-per-view again. When I’m down or anything like that, he’s able to push me, because he’s been there before. There are things that only Floyd can tell me about because he has that experience.”
Mayweather added: “In the gym, Calvin Ford(Davis’ trainer) and I work hand in hand. I’m just there to give pointers and help ‘Tank’ understand how pay-per-view works. If a fighter is in a gym working hard all day, sometimes he doesn’t want to do the things you have to do that are part of being on pay-per-view.”
The undefeated Davis has stopped 22 of his 23 opponents, but according to Mayweather, we have not seen the best out of the three-time world champion.
“You haven’t seen the best Gervonta Davis yet,’ Mayweather. “He had so many different looks in training. He had big guys, small guys, combination punchers, pressure fighters. He was boxing everything from middleweights to featherweights. All of this is going to play a big part in his career.”
Is the best yet to come for Davis, or will Santa Cruz spoil Tank’s pay-per-view party? We’ll find out on Halloween.
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions
Three-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and four-division world champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz will square off in a Halloween thriller for the WBA Super Featherweight and WBA Lightweight Championships live on SHOWTIME PPV Saturday, October 31 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The four-fight pay-per-view card will be the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since COVID-19 forced a halt to U.S. sports in March.
The stacked undercard will feature unbeaten San Antonio native and WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios defending his title against hard-hitting Ryan “Cowboy” Karl in the co-main event and former super lightweight world champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will take on unbeaten contender Juan Heraldez in a 10-round showdown. In the telecast opener, lightweight contenders Isaac Cruz and Diego Magdaleno will battle in an IBF title eliminator bout.
The highly anticipated main event will be contested at 130-pounds and will be fought for both Santa Cruz’s 130-pound title and Davis’ 135-pound title, which they each won in their previous fight. Two crowd favorites with massive followings, Davis vs. Santa Cruz is an all-action style matchup, with Davis owning a .957 knockout rate, while Santa Cruz is long established as one of the busiest punchers and best pressure fighters in the sport.
Davis vs. Santa Cruz will be a rare clash in boxing history in which world titles in two weight classes will be at stake. Other notable instances in recent boxing history are the 1988 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Donny Lalonde fight for the light heavyweight and super middleweight titles, and the 2014 Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana rematch for the super welterweight and welterweight championships.
“I’m looking forward to showing the world how hard I’ve been working in camp,” said Davis. “We are just a few weeks away, and I’m already in great shape. Headlining on pay-per-view has always been a dream of mine since I started boxing. I can’t wait to put on a spectacular performance against multiple division world champion Leo Santa Cruz. Thank you to my team, SHOWTIME, Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions, and all my fans worldwide. Keep supporting me and I’ll fight for you.”
“October 31 is going to be the biggest fight of my career,” said Santa Cruz. “I’m going to fight a very tough opponent, maybe the toughest opponent of my career. Two titles are going to be on the line, and this will be my first time headlining a pay-per-view. So I’m going to do everything that I can to put on a good show. Davis is known for his power. But I think with my experience and ring IQ I can break him down. He’s probably going to be very aggressive in the early rounds. But if I do what I’m supposed to, and execute our game plan, I will win.”
The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions, GTD Promotions and Santa Cruz Boxing Club.
Tickets will go on sale Monday, October 5 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. This is the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. in March. The Alamodome has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan to protect against the spread of the virus. All fans attending the event will be screened upon entry and are required to wear a mask, as well as follow social distancing guidelines. Tickets will be distributed in seat blocks known as “pods” to maintain distance between groups not from the same party. For more information, visit Alamodome.com.
“The Alamodome is excited to host the Davis vs. Santa Cruz SHOWTIME PPV event and to bring these athletes to San Antonio,” said Steve Zito, General Manager, Alamodome. “Not only is this a great platform for these athletes and their fans, but the event will also spotlight San Antonio through nationally televised matches and generate economic impact for our community during these challenging times.”
Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) burst onto the scene with an explosive knockout victory over Jose Pedraza to win the IBF Junior Lightweight World Title in a star-making performance on SHOWTIME® in January 2017. At the time, he became the youngest world champion in boxing at age 22. In the ring, Davis blends controlled aggression with blazing hand and foot speed, eye-catching power and sublime boxing skills. The dynamic combination of skills has made Davis a fan-favorite who filled arenas in Atlanta, Ga., and his hometown of Baltimore, Md., last year.
The 25-year-old began his 2019 with a knockout of Hugo Ruiz in February, before scoring a second-round stoppage of Ricardo Núñez in his homecoming fight in July. Davis closed out the year by capturing his lightweight title via 12th round TKO of former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in December. Davis also owns a title-winning performance in which he dominated former champion Jesus Cuellar to capture the WBA 130-pound belt in 2018. Under the guidance of Mayweather Promotions, Davis will look to further improve his impressive portfolio with another title-winning performance in his first pay-per-view main event.
Fighting out of Los Angeles, Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) made his debut at super featherweight last November by defeating Miguel Flores to capture the WBA title. Santa Cruz has made his name in the sport by engaging in numerous Fight of the Year contenders, including two thrilling featherweight title duels against four-time champion Abner Mares and two-division champion Carl Frampton each. He lost his featherweight title in his first match against Frampton in 2016, but reclaimed it in their rematch the following year.
The 32-year-old has competed in title bouts in 17 of his last 19 fights, while picking up belts at 118, 122, 126 and 130-pounds. The 130-pound title made Santa Cruz just the fifth fighter of Mexican descent to win titles in four weight classes, joining Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales, Jorge Arce and Mikey Garcia. Santa Cruz was introduced to the sport and trained throughout his career by his father Jose, along with his brothers Jose Armando, a former lightweight contender, and Antonio. Santa Cruz will look to become a five-division champion in his first pay-per-view headliner.
The 25-year-old Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) will be making the first defense of his world title in his hometown of San Antonio. Barrios captured his 140-pound title in his last fight in September 2019, earning a hard-fought unanimous decision over then-unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov, dropping him twice and fighting through a cut suffered on a head butt. Barrios trains in Oakland, Calif. under the guidance of renowned coach Virgil Hunter. The five-foot ten-inch Barrios debuted as a super bantamweight in 2013, eventually moving up to 140-pounds full time in 2017 where he is 8-0 with seven knockouts.
“The long layoff is finally over and fans can expect to see me go to war with Ryan Karl, who I know is coming to bring an aggressive fight to the table,” said Barrios. “I’ve stayed in great shape during this past year, so now it’s time for me to keep giving boxing fans exciting fights. I’ll be representing my city of San Antonio and as always, everyone can expect to see me as explosive as ever. On October 31, all the fans watching on pay-per-view will watch me make a statement as I defend my title.”
Born in Milano, Texas and now trained in Houston under the tutelage of top trainer Ronnie Shields, Karl (18-2, 11 KOs) will step in for his first title opportunity on October 31. The 28-year-old enters this fight on a three-bout winning streak, with all three wins coming in 2019, including a knockout of Kevin Watts to avenge one of his losses in an immediate rematch. Karl also owns victories over Kareem Martin and then-unbeaten Jose Felix Quezada during his pro career that dates back to 2014.
“I’ve been training for this my whole life and I’m not going to let it slip away,” said Karl. “We’re working hard in training camp to put on the best performance of my career. We know what we’re up against in Mario Barrios, but I’ve come too far not to take full advantage of this opportunity on October 31.”
A staple of the 140-pound elite, Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) returns to the ring after losing his title in an exciting unification clash via majority decision last October against Josh Taylor. The 31-year-old won his title by defeating Kiryl Relikh by TKO in April 2019 and has also earned stoppage victories over former unified champion Julius Indongo, and then-unbeaten contenders Joel Diaz Jr. and Juan Jose Velasco. Prograis was born in New Orleans but lives and fights out of Houston.
“This is a huge fight and I’m very thankful to PBC for giving me this opportunity,” said Prograis. “I haven’t fought in a year and since then I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and moved from L.A. back to Texas. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to get back to my number one spot in the super lightweight division. I have to be a world champion again and I won’t stop until that happens.”
The 30-year-old Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs) can vault himself into the top tier of 140-pound contenders with a career-best victory over Prograis on October 31. Born in Northridge, Cal. and training out of the Mayweather Promotions gym in Las Vegas, Heraldez most recently fought to a majority draw last May against former champion Argenis Mendez. Heraldez’s pro career has also seen him score victories over previously unbeaten Jose Miguel Borrego and tough contender Eddie Ramirez.
“It’s been a crazy year, but I took this opportunity to spend time with my family and sharpen my skills inside the ring,” said Heraldez. “There’s been a lot of great sparring happening at the Mayweather Boxing Club that I’ve taken advantage of. I have a tough opponent in front of me, and that’s my only focus right now. I trust in my ability as a fighter and I trust my team to get me over the finish line with a victory on October 31. I’m thankful to Mayweather Promotions for putting me on such a large platform for this fight.”
Fighting out of his native Mexico City, Mexico, Cruz (19-1-1, 14 KOs) is unbeaten in his last 15 fights since dropping his sixth pro fight by decision. The 22-year-old knocked out 10-of-13 opponents between 2016 and 2018, before making his U.S. debut in December 2019. That contest saw Cruz earn a unanimous decision over Miguel Perez, which he followed up in February of this year by defeating Thomas Mattice by decision on ShoBox: The New Generation.
“Since I started boxing, it has been my dream to fight on this stage in the United States,” said Cruz. “I know that Diego Magdaleno is a very tough and experienced fighter, but it’s my time on October 31. The fans will see that I have what it takes to be world champion when I beat Magdaleno and announce myself as one of the best lightweights in the world.”
Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) enters this fight coming off of an impressive victory over contender Austin Dulay in February that saw him drop Dulay on his way to a unanimous decision. The 33-year-old has challenged Roman Martinez for a 130-pound title and Terry Flanagan for a lightweight crown, while also battling lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in February 2019. A Las Vegas native, Magdaleno has won four-of-five fights entering October 31, including a 10-round decision over Artyom Hovhannisyan.
“I’ve been super eager to get back into the ring since my last performance,” said Magdaleno. “That win sparked a fire in me and got me as motivated as I’ve ever been. Now that I’m in a title eliminator, I’m even more excited to return to action. I’m facing another young lion, but he’s lacking the experience that I have. Training with Bones Adams has made a world of difference in my career. I’ve made a transition to being more composed and smarter in the ring. I’m here to make a statement and claim what’s mine. I’m never going to back down until I get that world title.”
Photo: Amanda Westscott/Showtime
LOS ANGELES (May 22, 2018) – Featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz hosted a media workout in Los Angeles Tuesday as he prepares for his world title rematch against four-time world champion Abner Mares Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. The consensus top-five featherweights will look to put on a repeat of the performance that saw them throw over 2,000 punches combined.
“I think Abner has looked better in recent fights, but not so much that he looks unbeatable or anything,” Santa Cruz said at media workout today. “He’s shown some improvements but I feel I’ve gotten much better as well. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m going to come out victorious.
“He says he’s going to box me more this time, but it’s easier to say that than do it. When you get in the ring and hear the fans, they make you want to brawl. Once you hear the crowd you want to entertain them. You love to hear the people scream.
“I’m going to try to go out there and give the fans a great fight like I always do. I feel like I’m in great condition right now. I feel a lot stronger and even my dad has told me this is as good as he’s seen me look.
“I’ve learned a lot since the first Mares fight. I’ve learned how to adjust during a fight better. I’m a more complete fighter and it’s going to help me look even better this time.
“I’m still as motivated as ever. I have the same hunger as if this fight was for my first title. I never underestimate anyone and always give it my all in the gym. It’s no different heading into this one.
“We’re going to try to win bigger this time but I’ll be ready to go 12 rounds. I’d definitely love to stop him. If the knockout comes it comes, and if I see an opening I’m going to take advantage.”
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also feature unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo defending his title against former world champion Austin Trout.
Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2018) – Featherweight world champions Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares met face to face at a press conference in downtown Los AngelesTuesday and discussed their world championship rematch taking place Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.
Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday at the open to the public press conference from STAPLES Center in Star Plaza in Los Angeles:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“It was a really close fight the first time. Before the fight, I told him I would give him the rematch, just like I would have wanted if I lost. Now is the time and I think this fight is going to be even better than the first fight. Mares will be better with Robert Garcia. He has many champions and I’ve seen the improvement. That’s great motivation for me.
“I know he’s going to seek revenge, but I’m not going to let that happen. My dad is a smart man too and he always knows how to send me to the ring with the right style.
“When two Mexicans get in there, you know it’s going to be a war. I hope everyone comes out June 9 because it’s going to be a fight to remember.
“Every time I step into the ring, I do it for the fans. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I always want the fans to go home happy. I want to give the fans a great show on June 9 just like in the first fight.
“I think that Abner is going to be a little smarter than the first fight. He said in the first fight he didn’t train for the right fight. I know Robert Garcia will have him bring a smarter fight. We’ll be able to adjust and do what we have to do to win this one.
“I have to make some little changes. There will be adjustments. We have to be prepared to box. I’ll listen to what my dad tells me to do. We’ll know early and take it from there. I know how to fight different styles, but brawling is what the fans love. I’m going to do that while still being smart in the ring.
“This fight is dedicated to my dad as he battles cancer. The only way I can pay him back or try to lift his spirits is to train hard in the gym and give him this win. If he sees me not giving up, I think it will give him the courage to keep fighting his battle.
“It was hard after the loss to Carl Frampton. I got a lot of fan support that inspired me to get back to training and win my title in the rematch. My plan was to retire undefeated, but at the end of the day, the loss means nothing. As long as I give the fans great fights, that’s all that matters.”
“This is going to be another great one. Leo Santa Cruz is a great person and a humble guy. You have to be the bad guy against Leo. I could talk about what I’m going to do in the ring, but my fists and my brain will do the work for me.
“Once we get in the ring, you already know what it’s going to be. It was war from the first bell last time. Nothing could stop either of us. We pleased the fans and gave them a great night. This is going to be the same thing. We’re two young fighters, fighting for pride.
“The fight is here now and it’s official. I’m eager to get this win and get redemption. There were things I could have done that would have made the fight easier for myself. Once you get in there, I know we all have a plan, but once you hear the crowd, it can go out the window. I’m a warrior and that type of fighter who’s looking to get the win no matter what.
“I’m not worried about the decision in the first fight. I think he landed the clearer punches but it was definitely a close fight. I was happy with my performance as far as pleasing the crowd. I’ve moved on to the rematch. I’m going to make adjustments and get the win.
“I can talk about how I’ve changed, but you just need to look at my last two performances. People thought Jesus Cuellar was going to knock me out, but I was the one who dropped him That lets you know what type of team I have and what kind of Abner Mares you will see on June 9.
“It feels good to be back fighting Leo for the second time at STAPLES Center. Every time I fight here in Los Angeles the people show me love. This is my hometown and STAPLES Center is my house.
“I’ve always seen holes in Leo’s game that I can take advantage of. It’s a matter of going in there with the perfect game plan. I feel like there’s no way I can lose this fight. That makes it a more exciting fight. If he wants to box, I’m more natural than him doing that. We’ll see who’s done their homework and who can translate it to the ring.”
Photos from Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES (April 2, 2018) – A rematch between featherweight world champions and Southern California rivals Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will headline action Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale today at 12:00 p.m. PT. To purchase tickets visit AXS.com or click HERE at 12:00 p.m. PT.
Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) and Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) first met in August 2015 at STAPLES Center and went toe-to-toe for 12 fast-paced rounds, with Santa Cruz eventually earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.
The initial matchup garnered “Fight of the Year” recognition and warranted a rematch between the consensus top five featherweights who will look to put on a repeat of the performance that saw them throw over 2,000 punches combined.
“This is a fight that fans have been clamoring for and a fight that is certain to deliver action and drama,” said Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports. “This is once again a true battle for Los Angeles, with only one man able to walk out of STAPLES Center with that crown as the best in the city. Fans should get their tickets early, because this is sure to be a hot ticket given the styles of each man and the motivations they have to win this fight. I can’t wait to see what happens on June 9 and I look forward to another memorable fight.”
“It is rare that a rematch is as highly anticipated as the initial match, but Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 is one of those rematches,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “Since their first match both Leo and Abner have gone on to solidify their positions at the top of the featherweight division, making a second meeting between them even more compelling. The winner will definitely become the man sitting at the top of a very competitive 126-pound division.”
“We are incredibly excited for this rematch of Southern California rivals to take place at STAPLES Center,” Lee Zeidman, President, STAPLES Center.” Boxing fans are in for an amazing night of fights in downtown Los Angeles on June 9th.”
“SHOWTIME is proud to deliver yet another pivotal matchup between two of the consensus top-five featherweights in the world,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programing, Showtime Networks Inc. “Santa Cruz-Mares 1 was a Fight of the Year-caliber fight with non-stop action from start to finish, and the rematch promises more of the same – with not just a world title at stake, but also Southern California bragging rights. This is the type of marquee bout that has become a hallmark of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, a true 50-50 showdown with high stakes implications.”
The popular Mexican-American Santa Cruz fights out of Los Angeles and most recently stopped Chris Avalos in October 2017 after a pair of high stakes showdowns against Irish star and two-division world champion Carl Frampton. While Santa Cruz lost a close majority decision in their first matchup, he bounced back in January 2017 to defeat Frampton by majority decision and regain his 126-pound title. Prior to that, Santa Cruz won belts at 118 and 122 pounds while earning a reputation as one of boxing’s most active and exciting fighters. The 29-year-old also holds victories over Cristian Mijares, Kiko Martinez and Eric Morel and has competed in world title bouts in 14 of his last 16 fights since 2012.
“The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better,” said Santa Cruz. “I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we’re also smart and I have a strong team that will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight once again for the boxing fans in Los Angeles.”
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif., Mares became a four-time world champion in December 2016 when he dropped Jesus Cuellar on his way to a unanimous decision and another featherweight world championship. Mares most recently scored a technical decision over Andres Gutierrez in October 2017. A Mexican Olympian in 2004, the 32-year-old won his first title in 2011 when he beat Joseph Agbeko to capture the bantamweight crown. He continued to rise in the pound-for-pound list with victories over Anselmo Moreno and DanielPonce De Leon to win world titles at super bantamweight and featherweight. The June 9 bout will be Mares’ third contest with World Champion trainer Robert Garcia, who helped Mares to a title-winning victory in their first fight together.
“It’s been over two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption,” said Mares. “Now that I’m with Robert Garcia and his team, you’ve seen the change. If they think I’m going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise.”