Saturday 24 August 2013: Carson, California, USA

Mares vs. Gonzalez fight poster

Television: Showtime (USA), RPC Channel 4 (Panama), Televisa (Mexico)
Time: 10:30PM ET / 7:30PM PT

WBC featherweight title
12 Rounds

Abner Mares 26(14)-0-1 vs. Jhonny Gonzalez 54(46)-8

At this point, Mares should be regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Unfortunately, it will be hard for Mares to fight Mikey Garcia, the true featherweight kingpin, since both fighters are aligned with rival promoters.

Within his last 6 fights, Mares has defeated Daniel Ponce de Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko (twice!), and Vic Darchinyan. The secret sauce in Mares arsenal is his swarming pressure style. Even against slicksters, Mares always manages to corner them and bang them with his vicious body shots.

Gonzalez is an acceptable opponent for Mares. He’s a 4x world titlist in 3 divisions, and has won over the likes of Elio Rojas, Rogers Mtagwa, Hozumi Hasegawa, and Fernando Montiel. With a 74% KO ratio, Gonzalez also has acceptable power for a featherweight.

However, his chin is questionable. Gonzalez has suffered KO losses to Toshiaki Nishioka, Gerry Penalosa, and Israel Vazquez. He’s the typical example of a fighter who can dish it out but not necessarily take it.

If Mares is the P4P fighter that he is, Gonzalez night ends early.

Prediction: Mares by KO6.

WBC super bantamweight title
12 Rounds

Victor Terrazas 37(21)-2-1 vs. Leo Santa Cruz 24(14)-0-1

It’s easy to believe the hype, predict a Santa Cruz victory, and be done with it. After all, Golden Boy is trumpeting him as the next big thing. But Terrazas, without any hype, is no joke.

After all, Terrazas is the one holding the WBC belt. He won it against Cristian Mijares — who is a bona fide Mexican superstar. It is Terrazas who beat Fernando Montiel convincingly, despite being a massive underdog. It is Terrazas who beat Nehomar Cermeno in a WBA eliminator, yet never caught his break.

Terrazas has only lost twice: once during his debut, the other time against Rendall Munroe in a scorching brawl.

But what attests to me about Terrazas abilities is this singular fact: Abner Mares vacated his WBC title rather than take on Terrazas. As much as Mares liked to complain that Nonito Donaire was ducking him, Mares ducked Terrazas.

Hence, Santa Cruz is not a lock to win this fight but this does speak to Golden Boy’s confidence in his abilities. After all, why else would they put him in the ring with Terrazas?

Santa Cruz has some great names on his undefeated resume, including Stephane Jamoye, Vusi Malinga, Eric Morel, Victor Zaleta, and the previously undefeated Alberto Guevara. A former IBF bantamweight titlist, Santa Cruz made three successful defenses before moving up to 122lbs.

The hallmark of Santa Cruz style is his blistering handspeed and high volume. It is not uncommon for Santa Cruz to throw over 1,000 punches in a fight. So far, no one’s been able to stop the onslaught.

Prediction: Terrazas by SD.

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