Saturday last week Leo Santa Cruz beat fellow Mexican-American Abner Mares in a sensational battle. It was the sweet science at its brutal and beautiful best.
If Irish star Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz ever set a date for a gruelling night in the ring, here are five things ‘The Jackal’ ought to be wary of.
1. Volume of punches
Few can equal Cruz for the number of punches he throws per round. But as he proved against Mares, it’s not just the volume that should worry fighters but his deadly accuracy also.
Cruz landed a whopping 373 punches to a beaten and bloody Mares.
Frampton will have to learn quickly during a potential fight how to deal with such a high number of leather being aimed at him unremittingly.
2. Fighting effectively in different styles
Leo Santa Cruz has a reputation of being an aggressive pugilist who comes forward with mean intent.
But vs Mares he demonstrated that he is a skilled boxer when he wants to be.
Nobody expected Cruz to outbox Mares as he, at times, fought on the outside in a composed and confident manner.
Throughout the contest he executed various styles by getting the better of the inside brawling with cleaner, more spiteful punches as well as fighting from range rewardingly.
3. Solid Jab
During commentary Teddy Atlas mentioned a tactic that has been crucial in boxing since the start. And that is that the best way to take advantage of your height and reach is to begin with the jab.
Cruz had great success with the jab in setting up the right hand and Mares struggled to prevent it as 71 found the target.
Cruz is bigger than Frampton with a larger reach and the Belfast man would need to find a way to remove the efficiency of his opponent’s eye catching jab.
4. Weathering a storm
In round one, Mares raced towards Cruz and fired everything he had at him.
But Cruz showcased his capability to deal with ferocious pressure and emerge from it unscathed. He remained calm in the chaos and was never troubled despite being in with a ruthless world class fighter in front of a raucous LA crowd.
Frampton should know that no matter how good he would perform against him, Cruz does not break easily.
5. Work rate
In a 36 minute fight it’s not easy to keep up a frantic pace for every second of every round.
But in his last outing Cruz was relentless in his work rate. He looked as if he could of gone another 12 rounds despite already putting so much into earning his victory.
Carl Frampton would need to be in superb conditioning, which he always is, in order to match his opponent’s fitness and persuade the judges to award him rounds against the unrelenting Santa Cruz.
A possible unification fight between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz would be an enthralling prospect. They are two of the most exciting boxers in today’s game and both are managed by Al Haymon.
The pair are known for being in memorable and exhilarating fights.
Hopefully a deal can be agreed at some point in the future for these warriors to collide.