Everyone was convinced that when Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares fought on August 29th it would be the start of an epic Mexican trilogy on par with other great rivalries involving Latin/Hispanic fighters in the smaller weight classes. It was a great fight, but it did not produce a compelling enough ending deserving of an immediate rematch, much less a potential 3rd fight.
The action was solid, although the competitiveness of the fight, or lack thereof, left something to be desired in the fight.
When Roman “Rocky” Martinez and Orlando Salido met for the first time in April of this year most assumed it would be a great fight with at least decent action, but few predicted it would be such a captivating fight. There were obvious reasons to stage the rematch and there were plenty of implications that it would happen.
So it wasn’t a surprise when the rematch became official, although it was somewhat unexpected to see it announced as part of the undercard for Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Andre Berto on September 12th.
Salido was favored by many boxing experts in the first fight, which made the fight even more exciting to see Martinez pull off the mild upset via 12 round unanimous decision.
That conclusion left many to believe Salido was too washed up to compete against Martinez in the rematch, but that was not the case. Salido, who was knocked down twice in the first fight, was knocked down in the rematch only to return the favor and score a questionable knockdown over Martinez.
Salido made the adjustments in the rematch and it appeared as though he’d done enough to win a decision over Martinez. However, the judges came up with a split decision draw after 12 rounds, allowing Martinez to keep the WBO junior lightweight title he’d won from Salido in the first fight.
After the fight, it seemed likely that the two would find a way to meet again, there was certainly enough interest from fans that night. The draw hampers the dynamics of the trilogy just a bit. After all, it is certainly more interesting to have a rubber match based on one win apiece. Still, the fight is intriguing regardless of the split.
Now, it appears as though we are headed towards a third fight as ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that all parties involved are interested in another showdown, ShowTime included.
Stephen Espinoza of ShowTime Sports told ESPN that he has “communicated to both sides” about ShowTime’s interests in putting on a third fight.
Both Salido and Martinez made it clear that they were interested in the rematch, so what could get in the way, right?
This is the perfect scenario because neither Martinez nor Salido are in any real positon to receive a better offer from any other opponent, especially for a winnable fight for both. I’m assuming they’d jump at the chance to be on a big network after both men appeared on HBO but subsequently dropped off the major network market.
Perhaps the only hindrance of seeing this fight get made immediately is the interest from other networks and the time it would take to negotiate it. As far as anyone is aware, neither fighter is tied to ShowTime necessarily. That said, ShowTime is most likely favored to land the fight.