The eyes of the boxing world were again focused on San Antonio, Texas on Saturday night as Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime Boxing televised a four fight card headlined by Adrien Broner defending his welterweight title against Marcos Maidana.
Before the welterweights entered the ring, all-action fighter Leo Santa Cruz and Beibut Shumenov entered the ring to defend their titles.
Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15KO) faced off against slick southpaw Cesar Seda (25-2, 17KO) as another exciting chapter of Mexico vs Puerto Rico unfolded.
Santa Cruz burst onto the scene in 2012 and quickly became a fan favorite due to his volume punching. Seda was attempting to win a title for the second time and hoped to bring a title home to Puerto Rico. A rare time that the boxing rich island is void of any title holders.
The fight contained plenty of action. Santa Cruz did not throw as many punches as normal, but still let his hands go more than most prize fighters. Seda did well blocking single and double punches, but he was often caught by Santa Cruz’s third and fourth punches.
Seda had moments when he landed to the body and often landed short counter left hooks, but as each chapter was read it was Santa Cruz throwing and landing just enough to earn 10 points at the end of each round.
Santa Cruz’s lead was extended in round five when he landed a punch that sent Seda to the canvas. Although their feet got tangled, Santa Cruz was rightfully awarded a knockdown.
The bantamweight division is no stranger to producing Fight of the Year candidates. And it’s hard to imagine Santa Cruz’s career ending without him taking part in a few of them. Seda had the skill and heart to be that guy, but he simply did not possess the power to hurt Santa Cruz or reverse the champion’s downhill momentum.
By the end of the ninth round it was all Santa Cruz. As they approached the championship rounds the only drama that remained was whether or not Seda would be able to end the fight on his feet.
The fighters traded in the middle of the ring as the fight came to a close. The fight ended as it began. Seda was game, but he was simply out-gunned by a fighter with a surplus of artillery.
The judges made the action that took place official. Scores of 116-111, 115-112, and 117-110 were all read in favor of Leo Santa Cruz.
The rise of Santa Cruz will continue to be televised by Showtime. Seda should not be discouraged as his effort was good enough to beat most in the division.
2013 was truly a coming out party for the light heavyweight division. Adonis Stevenson became the lineal champion when he stopped Chad Dawson in a round. Sergei Kovalev stormed on the scene by knocking out all four opponents put in his path. Bernard Hopkins also continues to fight out-worldly at the age of 48.
Stevenson and Kovalev are on a collision course and each fight under the HBO banner. The network is of course investing money by paving the road with hopes that their paths cross.
Hopkins talked about possibly moving up or down in weight because he did not have an obvious opponent in his weight class that calls Showtime home.
Enter WBA titlist Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9KO), who entered the ring in San Antonio after an 18-month layoff. Shumenov shook off the rust against Slovakia’s Tomas Kovacs (23-1, 14 KO). It took Shumenov about two minutes to shake off the rust, and then he shook Kovacs with a straight right hand. A wide looping left hook landed on Kovacs chin with enough force to send his flat-footed foe to the canvas.
Shumenov dominated the second round behind his jab, which he landed several times to the body. A left hook to the body froze Kovacs legs, and the challenger found himself again thawing out on the canvas.
Shumenov fought meticulously in round three until he found an opening for his money punch. A straight right hand landed flush and sent Kovacs to the canvas for the third and final time.
The official time was 2:55 of round three.
Part of the reason for Shumenov’s layoff was because he was attempting to promote himself. Finding it difficult to land big fights he signed with Golden Boy Promotions. A good career move since the cash cow in his division also happens to be a partner with the company.
Following the fight Shumenov made it clear who he wanted to fight next.
“I would be honored to fight him (Hopklins)”, Shumenov said. “He is truly a legend a champion.”
Hopkins, who is never far from a mic swiftly replied, “It will be an honor to take his belt.”
Not exactly “How a Bill Becomes a Law”, but Showtime hopes it could be, “How a Challenge Becomes a Fight”.