In the co-main event of the Showtime, Mayweather vs. Maidana II pay-per-view broadcast, Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 knockouts) took on unknown contender, Manuel Roman (17-3-3, 6 knockouts), in a fight many regarded as a glorified showcase bout in the super bantamweight division. Since signing with Al Haymon, Santa Cruz immediately drew criticism that he will become another one of these champions who will be viewed as “protected” or a “cherry-picker”, but as Santa Cruz likes to remind everyone, he’s willing to fight anyone……that pays. One can’t really argue with the young fighter’s logic, but few fans are patient enough to watch him steam-roll through a lower caliber opponent like he did this past Saturday.
Quite frankly, this bout ended just about as soon as it began. From the onset it was clear that Roman was out of his league, but to his credit he made it past the first round. Santa Cruz immediately went to work in stringing together combinations between the body and head of his opponent, and it was clear that they were doing damage to their intended target. At the opening bell of the second round, Roman hoped to leave fans with a much better idea of what he was capable of, but before he could really get anything going Santa Cruz uncorked a short, straight-right that found its mark and immediately sent Roman crashing to the canvas. With Roman unable to beat the count, Santa Cruz was immediately awarded the TKO victory.
There are certainly no shortage of opponents for Santa Cruz to face both at super bantamweight and higher, but at this point fans should be wary of just how many (if any) of these potential match-ups are to be made. Perhaps Santa Cruz will be the exception and fight the best in order to prove he’s the best, but as history and other Haymon fighters of recent memory can prove, the chances aren’t exactly good of that actually happening. Regardless, Santa Cruz has proven to be a fan-friendly and talented fighter who is a couple of wins away from separating himself as a potential superstar in the sport.