This Saturday, June 9th, “Showtime Championship Boxing” offers up a double dose of world title bouts, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA (9PM CST). The WBA Featherweight title will be at stake when Leo Santa Cruz squares off with Abner Mares; the WBC Super Welterweight crown will be up for grabs as Jermell Charlo collides with Austin Trout. In both instances these foes are familiar with each other, which is known to breed contempt, translating to good times for Boxing fans, more often than not.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KO’s) vs Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KO’s) II
A rematch of one of the better bouts of 2015, Santa Cruz-Mares II promises to entertain. Put It better, because the large, pro-Mexican crowd at Staples Center will have no qualms about booing if there’s a shortage of leather flying before their eyes. In their initial outing, Mares held his own in the pocket before strangely being advised to remain on the outside, by his corner. The 2004 Mexican Olympian followed instructions, found himself losing rounds to the longer, rangier Santa Cruz, and by the time he elected to get back into the fire, the damage was already done. Santa Cruz won by scores of 117-111 twice and 114-114, a majority decision. Afterwards, Mares enlisted the aid of Robert Garcia, to refresh his game and win this fight, specifically.
Instantly elevated from the win, Santa Cruz went on to split a pair of memorable bouts with Carl Frampton and has firmly entrenched himself on the short list of the absolute best Featherweights in the world. Only Gary Russell, Jr. (who owns an amateur win over Leo) could argue otherwise. Santa Cruz and Mares shared a card October of 2017, where both were victorious by knockout. When all is said and done, the onus is on Mares to show new wrinkles and adhere to a game-plan from start to finish, against a naturally bigger man. The safe pick is Leo Santa Cruz by decision, on the strength of being better, along with a clear size advantage.
Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KO’s) vs. Austin Trout (31-4, 17 KO’s)
With unification looming, remaining focused on the task at hand may prove to be more daunting for Jermell Charlo than his actual fight with Austin Trout. IBF Super Welterweight champion, Jarrett Hurd, recently added Erislandy Lara’s WBA 154-pound championship to the mix and a unification date with Charlo has been tentatively penciled in for the Fall. It’s an occasion Charlo has wanted for a year or more, but he can ill afford to play Trout cheap.
A former Jr. Middleweight world champion himself, Trout’s worth as a viable, world-class level threat is in jeopardy. As such, Austin will not only be motivated, he’ll also have a degree of quasi-familiarity, having faced Charlo’s twin, Jermall, more than two years ago. No, the Brothers Charlo aren’t mirror images in the ring, but to compare them isn’t an apples-oranges analogy either.
Charlo’s been on a roll since asking Errol Spence Jr if he’d be cool with sharing trainer, Derrick James. Literally, Jermell’s KO’ed every single opponent since. Trout was stopped in his last fight, against the aforementioned Hurd, one of the larger 154-pounders you’ll ever see. Charlo doesn’t rely on sheer size and pressure to the degree Hurd does, but Trout will need to be wary of Charlo’s superior speed, counter-punching and accuracy, by comparison. Charlo wins for certain; late knockout or wide unanimous decision is the only question.