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Leo Santa Cruz vs Miguel Flores 23 11 2019 Full Fight
Leo Santa Cruz won a world title in a fourth weight class tonight, outpointing a game but a bit outclassed Miguel Flores over 12 rounds to take the vacant WBA “super world” super featherweight title.
WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz will be defending his title against fellow Mexican Miguel Flores at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday, November 23rd. The 12-round tilt can be seen live in North America on Fox pay-per-view while fans in the UK can see it on Sky Sports Action. Santa Cruz last fought in February when he beat Rafael Rivera by unanimous decision while Flores last saw action in June when he stopped Luis May in the sixth round.
The 31-year-old Santa Cruz, who fights out of the Los Angeles area, has an impressive record of 36-1-1 along with 19 Kos. He’s also won world bantamweight and junior featherweight titles since turning pro but decided to move up in weight and captured the vacant WBA Super World Featherweight Belt when he beat Abner Mares by majority decision in 2015. Santa Cruz stands just over 5-feet-7-inches tall with a 69-inch reach. He has a 50 per cent knockout ratio and has fought 249 rounds since turning pro in 2006.
His biggest wins have been against Mares (twice), Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Cristian Mijares, Victor Terrazas and Eric Morel. Santa Cruz’s lone draw was a four-rounder against Rodrigo Hernandez in 2007 and his lone defeat came at the hands of Frampton via a majority decision in their first meeting in 2016. Santa Cruz then regained his crown via a majority decision over Frampton six months later. The champion is quite an exciting boxer as he tends to throw punches in bunches and isn’t averse to going toe-to-toe with his opponents.
Santa Cruz also owns a pretty solid chin to go along with his boxing skills and he’s won most of his fights due to his relentless punching output. He likes to work inside and trade shots even when he has the advantage in height and reach. He’s just half an inch shorter than Flores with the same reach. Many fans would like to see Santa Cruz meet Frampton in a rubber match or some other elite boxers in his weight division down the road if he gets past Flores.
The 27-year-old Flores, who fights out of Texas, was supposed to meet Santa Cruz in February but had to pull out due to an ankle injury. He enters the contest with a mark of 24-2 with 12 Kos and was stopped in both of his losses. He was halted in the sixth round by Dat Nguyen in February, 2017 and stopped due to cuts in his next bout five months later against Chris Avalos. Flores had Avalos down third round but couldn’t finish him off.
Flores made his pro debut in 2009 and has boxed 124 rounds since. He stands 5-feet-8-inches tall with a 69-inch reach and has just average power with a current knockout ratio of 46.2 per cent. His biggest wins have been against Jose Luis Araiza, Carlos Padilla, Alfred Tetteh, Ruben Tamayo and Ryan Kielczweski. He’s taking a big step up in class against Santa Cruz and will need to match the champion’s punch output to have any chance of pulling off and upset.
Santa Cruz is used to dictating the pace and overwhelming his opponents with punches and that’s what he’ll try against Flores. This could turn into an exciting fight if Flores can keep up with him and hits back but when it’s all said and done I’m expecting Santa Cruz to retain his title.
The fight should be closer than the odds suggest, but look for a Santa Cruz win.
Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KO) won on scores of 115-112, 117-110, and 117-110, which were closer than many of the scores media were passing around online, including ours, which was a full shutout, 120-107 for Santa Cruz.
The 31-year-old Santa Cruz has now won world titles at 118, 122, 126, and 130, which probably all but stamps his ticket to the Hall of Fame, which might seem odd but if the standards don’t change, we’re going to see a lot of that in the coming years.
Anyway, Flores (24-3, 12 KO) gave a legitimate effort here, and actually outworked the always-active Santa Cruz overall, but Leo was the more accurate of the two and his punches seemed to have more effect, even if his power has clearly and logically diminished during his climb up the weight ladder.
Santa Cruz for once actually called out a couple of big names in his post-fight interview, not going with the tried and true “I’ll fight who my team tells me to fight” line.
“In 2020, I want a big fight,” he said. “I want Gary Russell, I want Gervonta Davis.”
Santa Cruz said he’s going to stay at 130 for now, but that he’d be willing to go up to 135 to chance Davis, who moves up to lightweight on Dec. 28. Russell is currently campaigning at 126, but has expressed a willingness to fight at 130 for a big fight.