As most fight fans already know, one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1 15ko’s) will be defending his world title against veteran and former WBA and WBC Super flyweight world champion Cristian Mijares (49-7-2 24Ko’s). The bout will serve as the co-feature for the Saul Alvarez v Alfredo Angulo pay per view showdown on March 8th.
With only 27 fights under his belt, Santa Cruz is not only one of the most exciting fighters in the world but he’s already a two division world champion. Santa Cruz possesses great physical advantages for the 122lb weight division; standing at 5’7 in height with a 69 inch reach he holds a size advantage over most opponents. He has good punching power and durability along with great stamina and conditioning.
However, Santa Cruz has defensive deficiencies and can be easy to hit. His primary form of defense is blocking punches with his gloves by keeping his hands up. He has very little head movement and doesn’t slip punches. He also doesn’t seem to know how to counterpunch and sometimes tends to follow his opponents around rather than cutting off the ring. It should also be noted that despite being a two division world champion, Santa Cruz has been fed a steady diet of naturally smaller fighters throughout his whole career and that trend will continue on March 8th with Mijares being a former super flyweight.
Cristian Mijares is probably the most accomplished fighter that Santa Cruz has faced yet in his career. Back in 2008, Mijares was the WBA and WBC super-flyweight world champion and was considered to be a pound for pound fighter by many fans and writers before getting knocked out by Vic Darchinyan later that same year.
He is now six years removed from his prime and has seven losses on his record. He will also be fighting two weight classes above his most affective weight. It is obvious that he is being brought in so Santa Cruz can have a respectable name on his resume. I hope after this fight Santa Cruz steps up his level of opposition and stops fighting former super flyweights that are way past their prime years. However, Santa Cruz is always in entertaining fights and I expect nothing different for this fight.