Over the past few weeks, there have been headlines upon headlines regarding the cancellation of one of boxing history’s greatest rematches, as Canelo Alvarez has officially withdrawn from his May 5 rematch with Gennady Golovkin. The match was set for the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., to be aired on HBO pay per view but those plans are now up in smoke as “GGG” looks for a replacement option.
But, just as we saw one rematch scrapped, so too has come the announcement that two more rivals will again be squaring off as Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will headline a June 9 SHOWTIME card from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Premier Boxing Champions clash will be a rematch of their August 2015 bout that was won by Santa Cruz via majority-decision.
Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) won the first contest with Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) in a toe-to-toe for 12 battle over 12 fast-paced rounds, with Leo eventually earning the decision, as well as a vacant featherweight title. Now, we have Santa Cruz putting his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares in match that will likely be just as entertaining.
“This is a fight that fans have been clamoring for and a fight that is certain to deliver action and drama,” said Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports, who will be promoting the rematch.
“This is once again a true battle for Los Angeles, with only one man able to walk out of STAPLES Center with that crown as the best in the city,” Schaefer explained. “Fans should get their tickets early, because this is sure to be a hot ticket given the styles of each man and the motivations they have to win this fight. I can’t wait to see what happens on June 9 and I look forward to another memorable fight.”
SHOWTIME has come out of the gates with a stellar 2018 thus far and the rematch goes along well their their lineup.
“SHOWTIME is proud to deliver yet another pivotal matchup between two of the consensus top-five featherweights in the world,” stated Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programing, Showtime Networks Inc. “Santa Cruz-Mares 1 was a Fight of the Year-caliber fight with non-stop action from start to finish, and the rematch promises more of the same – with not just a world title at stake, but also Southern California bragging rights. This is the type of marquee bout that has become a hallmark of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, a true 50-50 showdown with high stakes implications.”
Santa Cruz is one of the busier fighters in the sport, whether in or outside of the ring, and he up for the challenge once again.
“The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better,” said Santa Cruz. “I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we’re also smart and I have a strong team that will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight once again for the boxing fans in Los Angeles.”
Mares’ back appeared to be up against the ropes in December 2016, when he faced off with then-WBA champion Jesus Cuellar. Yet Mares, who is now trained by Robert Garcia, showed new wrinkles to his game in collecting the victory and scoring a knockdown along the way. on his way to a unanimous decision and another featherweight world championship. It’s time to go again and Mares too is up for the moment.
“It’s been over two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption,” said Mares. “Now that I’m with Robert Garcia and his team, you’ve seen the change. If they think I’m going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise.”
On the boxing forums you see mixed views about the importance off the rematch. Some feels Santa Cruz showed in the first fight he will always be superior and that there is no need to see another go-around. Others feel Mares has improved under Robert Garcia and that this could be a classic rematch.
Gut feeling here is to go with the latter. This should be a great night.