Carl Frampton will take on Leo Santa Cruz in a Jan. 28 rematch in Las Vegas/AP photo by Peter Morrison
There has been some chatter about how difficult it must have been for Leo Santa Cruz to train for his fight this past July 30 against Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland. Santa Cruz’s father, Jose, was very sick from his battle with cancer, so it’s understandable if the younger Santa Cruz wasn’t entirely focused on the task inside the ring. (Jose Santa Cruz is now in remission).
Frampton, who took Santa Cruz’s featherweight title via majority decision that night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, concedes Santa Cruz had a lot going on from a personal standpoint. But he finds it hard to believe Santa Cruz could have fought much harder than he did.
“There’s no doubt that Leo went through a difficult time with his father’s illness,” said Frampton, who Jan. 28 will tangle with Santa Cruz in a rematch at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime). “I also know that Leo trained very hard anyway. He threw about a thousand (1,002) punches last fight and was throwing all the way to the end. You can’t throw much more than that, so I don’t think he’s going to improve his work rate.
“I believe he’ll come up with a different game plan, but I genuinely believe that I’ll be able to deal with anything he brings to the ring. It’s not going to be an easy fight, but I’ll do whatever it takes to win and I believe I will.”
Dejan Zlaticanin/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Dejan Zlaticanin of Montenegro won the lightweight world title with a third-round stoppage of Franklin Mamani of Bolivia in June in Verona, N.Y. It made him kind of a big deal in his homeland.
“To be the first world champion from Montenegro is historic,” Zlaticanin said. “I think it’s made me a national hero in the country and I’m honored. The people in my country love me and I love them back.”
Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) wants them to love him even more and he figures a successful title defense over someone like Mikey Garcia will do just that. The two square off Dec. 10 at Galen Center (on Showtime) underneath the main event between Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens and featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar of Argentina.
“When I beat Mikey Garcia, that will make me an even bigger star,” Zlaticanin said at Thursday’s news conference in Los Angeles. “I think Mikey is a good puncher, and he has good timing, but I can hit him easily and I’m planning to knock him out.”
Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs), of Oxnard, has won world titles at featherweight and super featherweight. He relishes the chance to win one in a third.
“I’m really happy to have been given this opportunity to claim a world title in a third division,” Garcia said. “This is going to be an amazing fight. He’s a hungry world champion. He’s very dangerous. These are the kind of fights that I want. This is what I need to prove myself.”
Jesus Cuellar/Photo courtesy of BoxRec.com
There is a lot to be said for confidence. Featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) of Argentina appears to have that ahead of his Dec. 10 defense against Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) of Hawaiian Gardens at USC’s Galen Center (on Showtime). But he knows no matter how good he feels about himself, he has to perform when the bell rings.
“This is an important fight that I’ve wanted for a long time,” Cuellar said Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing Club in Los Angeles. “It’s an important fight for my career and to prove to everyone how good I am.
“Abner Mares is a high-level fighter. I have to beat him to reach the next level of this sport. That’s what I’m preparing to do. You’re going to see everything I’ve learned on Dec. 10. I love to train hard and I’ve improved greatly as a fighter. I’m going to put it all together in the ring.”
Danny Garcia, left, lands a left hook to the jaw of Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero in January at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill
Danny Garcia of :Philadelphia won the vacant welterweight world title with a unanimous decision over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero on Jan. 23 in Los Angeles. But Garcia won’t make his first defense until next year.
In the meantime, Garcia will take on Samuel Vargas (25-2-1, 13 KOs) of Colombia in a non-title bout Nov. 12 from Liacouras Center in Philiadelphia (on Spike). It is expected to act as a tune-up for a title-unification bout with Keith “One Time” Thurman in 2017. The fight will also be part of a charity drive Garcia is fueling.
Garcia is teaming up with Philabundance – the region’s largest hunger relief organization – on a regional food drive. Fans are being encouraged to drop off canned goods at the fight venue as well as a local boxing gym. Also, $10 from each ticket sold will be donated and provide 20 meals per ticket for the needy.
Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) is stoked about the package.
“My dad (trainer Angel Garcia) and I wanted to get one more fight in before the end of the year and there was no doubt in my mind it had to be in Philadelphia,” said Garcia, who has also been a champion at junior welterweight. “My team got it done and it’s a great feeling to fight at home over the holidays. I’m excited to use this opportunity to give back to the community and put on a show. This city means everything to me. I hope everyone comes out, but shows up with cans of food, too.
“I’m gearing up for a big fight with Keith Thurman next year that’s going to be a can’t-miss event.”
Yordenis Ugas punches to the body of Bryant Perrella on Tuesday in New Mexico/Photo by Jane Phillips, Premier Boxing Champions
Yordenis Ugas of Cuba may have three defeats, but he’s starting to make some noise in the welterweight division. Ugas on Tuesday night stopped previously undefeated Bryant Perrella in the fourth round at Buffalo Thunder Casino in Pojoaque, N.M.
It’s the second consecutive undefeated welterweight Ugas has beaten since his move up from junior welterweight. Ugas won a unanimous decision over Jamal James in August; James was 20-0.
Ugas (17-3, 8 KOs) decked Perrella (14-1, 13 KOs), of Fory Myers, Fla., in the first and fourth rounds.
Afterward, Ugas said he dedicated the victory to fellow Cuban Jose Fernandez, the late Miami Marlins pitcher who was killed Sunday in a boating accident.
“The right hand was there early and all night long,” Ugas said. “I was able to land it from the beginning. Then I went to the body. Before I left my corner to start the fight, I said a prayer for Jose, and for sure that was my motivation. I felt his spirit throughout the fight.”
Sergio Mora sits on his stool after suffering an ankle injury in the second round of his August 2015 fight against middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs/Associated Press photo by Gregory Payan
Sergio Mora of Los Angeles has had a very nice career, considering he’s never had much of a punch. Mora is 28-4-2 with only nine knockouts. But he did win a major world title when he took a stunning victory over Vernon Forrest in June 2008, losing the junior middleweight belt three months later in a rematch.
Mora didn’t get another title shot until he took on Daniel Jacobs for a middleweight belt in August 2015, Jacobs winning a second-round TKO when Mora suffered an ankle injury.
Mora will take on Jacobs (31-1, 28 KOs) in a rematch next Friday from Santander Arena in Reading, Pa. (on Spike). It figures to be Mora’s final chance at a second title.
“I’m not Bernard Hopkins,” Mora said. “There’s only special people that could fight in their mid-30s and so on and still be fighting the best. So even though … my body hasn’t taken a beating, I’ve been in the game a long time. And the wear and tear from sparring and from running and from the dieting and from all the other stuff, all that takes effect.”
Robert Guerrero/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero didn’t like the decision that went against him
Saturday in his welterweight fight against David Peralta of Argentina at Honda
Center. A very close fight, Peralta won a split-decision by scores of 113-115,
115-113 and 116-112.
Guerrero didn’t speak to reporters immediately following the fight, instead
making his way to his dressing room. From there did come a comment that
spelled out what he thought about the scores – especially the 116-112 that
came from Max DeLuca.
“I thought I clearly won the fight,” Guerrero said. “For the judge to say I lost 8
rounds sounds crazy to me. Peralta was very awkward, but I felt I won. I won
the rounds when I boxed. This is very disappointing, but I’ll be back, that you
can count on.”
This newspaper – along with a couple of other publications – scored the bout a
114-114 draw. DeLuca’s score did seem out of line.
Guerrero, 33, is 33-5-1. Peralta, who will be 34 on Wednesday, is 26-2-1.
Robert Guerrero/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and David Peralta on Friday made weight for their welterweight main event Saturday at Honda Center (on Spike).
Guerrero, of Gilroy, weighed 146.8 pounds. Peralta, of Argentina, came in at the 147-pound limit.
Guerrero, 33, is 33-4-1 with 18 knockouts. Peralta, also 33, is 25-2-1 with 14 knockouts.
David Peralta/Photo courtesy of BoxRec.com
David Peralta has 28 professional bouts, every one of them contested in his native Argentina. Not only has Peralta never fought in the U.S., he has never even boxed for a major title.
All this would seem to make him a huge underdog for his fight Saturday against former world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-4-1, 18 KOs). They will square off in the welterweight main event at Honda Center in Anaheim (on Spike).
At a workout Wednesday in Costa Mesa, Peralta (25-2-1, 14 KOs) spoke in confident tones about his big chance.
“I’m physically and mentally prepared for this fight,” said Peralta, who, like Guerrero, is 33. “Robert Guerrero is a great fighter and a great champion. I’ve seen everything he’s done and I think this is my time.
“The United States is a beautiful place and I’ve enjoyed being here very much. I’m going to give a very hard fight on Saturday night. I’m going to leave it all in the ring and come out with a victory.”
Errol Spence Jr., left, lands a punch on Leonard Bundu during their fight Sunday from Coney Island, N.Y./DiBella Entertainment photo by Ed Diller
Fighting on NBC on the final day of the Rio Games on Sunday afternoon, welterweight contender Errol Spence Jr. and Leonard Bundu toiled at a peak audience of 6.4 million viewers, according to Premier Boxing Champions, which cited Nielsen.
Spence and Bundu squared off following Team USA’s gold-medal performance in men’s basketball; NBC televised the Rio Games. Spence and Bundu averaged 4.8 million viewers during the broadcast. Their bout – won by Spence via sixth-round knockout from Coney Island, N.Y. – was the highest-rated PBC fight to date, according to a PBC news release.
“I knew this would be the most important fight of my career and the goal was to not just win, but to put on a spectacular one-sided performance,” Spence Jr. said. “It felt good to go out there and give everyone watching a great show and to do it in front of such a large television audience makes it even better.”
Spence, of Desoto, Texas, is 21-0 with 18 knockouts.