Boxing is at a bit of a lull right now. With a limited amount of fight cards happening at this time of the year ESPN has been hyping the Santa Cruz/Mares fight to maximize potential ratings. This bout should be entertaining, but somewhat predictable.
I don’t think that Abner Mares (29-1-1, 15 KOs) has much of a chance against Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17 KOs). Both fighters possess okay, not great, punching power. The punching power of Santa Cruz and Mares are slightly diluted at the featherweight division. The safe prediction for this matchup would be Santa Cruz by unanimous decision. The numbers tend to support this outcome.
Santa Cruz hasn’t really begun to test his power at the featherweight division and Mares hasn’t been tested since he was crushed in one by Jhonny Gonzalez.
Despite what the numbers tend to spell out, I think that Santa Cruz will stop Mares inside of six rounds. I don’t like this matchup for Mares. He is at a size and power disadvantage against Santa Cruz. I don’t think his movement is good enough to give Santa Cruz trouble. Look for Santa Cruz to win big tonight.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Mares is a sacrificial lamb. If Santa Cruz destroys Mares his stock will soar and he will be on his way to superstardom.