It will be Mexico vs. Panama this Saturday night at The Staples Center in Los Angeles as Golden Boy Promotions bring us a Main Event for the WBC Super Bantamweight Title as Abner Mares takes on Anselmo Moreno. There’s no doubt this will be a great contest but don’t forget to tune in early as there is a fascinating under card fight that is just dripping with ‘Mexican Machismo’.
It’s been almost 8 years to the day since 2 of the sport’s biggest ‘little men’ climbed through the ropes at the MGM Grand Hotel to compete in one of the most celebrated boxing trilogies ever. Erik Morales and Marco Barrera traded leather to end a crowd pleasing trio of fights and show the world what the very definition of ‘Mexican Warrior’ really meant.
Leo Santa Cruz will go head to head against Victor Zaleta this weekend with both men looking to emulate the 2 aforementioned legends and put their own individual stamp on the Bantamweight division and in Mexican boxing folklore. Santa Cruz’s IBF Bantamweight strap (which he won in a title elimination contest against Vusi Malinga on points) will be on the line.
The Challenge Zaleta, is also Mexican with a pro record of 20wins 2losses and 1 draw. Zaleta, 24 is competing in his 2nd World Title fight in a career that seen him lose his first attempt at gold against Omar Narvaez for the WBO Super Fly Weight title back in Feb.20 11; a fight in which he was heavily outpointed. To his credit however, Zaleta has picked himself up from that low point and managed to win 3 out of his last 4 contests, drawing his last fight against Juan Jose Montes. So Zaleta is coming into this bout with confidence having only 2 defeats to his name and building momentum with every bout.
The Champion Santa Cruz, 24, is undefeated in his pro career with 20 wins and 1 draw. Santa Cruz is as active at getting fights as he is throwing punches. His last outing was Sept 15 only 8 weeks ago which was a big win by way of KO against former flyweight king Eric Morel. Although he’s recently split with manager Cameron Dunkin and signed on with Al Haymon, the young champ remains focused on the business at hand.
So the stage is set for 2 young Mexican Warriors to step up to the plate under the bright lights of The Staples Center on Saturday and show that the ‘Mexican Fighting Spirit’ is still alive and well in modern day boxing. The odds, quite rightly so, favor the champion Santa Cruz. His work rate is quite frankly phenomenal, throwing punches in bunches, displaying experience, and showing an ability to be ‘The Ring General’ which is beyond his young years. He also may very well be the most accomplished body puncher in the game today.
In contrast, the Challenger Zaleta favors the brawling persona, preferring to stalk down his prey using educated pressure to the maximum effect. He has an excellent engine, good chin, and no obvious weaknesses aside from being the smaller man in weight moving up. Combining this with a strong desire to make it ‘second time lucky’, we could be in for a very interesting fight.
My feeling in this one is that Zaleta as game a Challenger as he is, will simply be outworked over the distance by a champion who appears to be peaking at just the right time. Given the nature of both fighters, the excitement for this clash is rightly so building up as Leo Santa Cruz’s hometown fans will ensure a red hot atmosphere outside the ring. It’s also an absolute sure thing that these 2 Mexican Warriors will ensure that very same atmosphere is present inside the ring.