This past weekend, I was
ringside at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, making it impossible for
this reporter to be at the MGM Grand where another card was taking place. Many
of you out there have asked my thoughts on this card (which I eventually watched
on Sunday night on DVR). Well, here ya go...
- It's no secret that IBF bantamweight titlist
Leo Santa Cruz is one of my favorite young fighters. He attacks the body with
as much fury and consistency as anyone in the sport and he simply wore down
veteran Eric Morel in five rounds. At this stage of his life, Morel didn't need
this. Leo reminds me a lot of a younger, smaller version of Antonio Margarito.
And while he's not a great puncher, he more than makes up for it with volume
and activity and as he continues to mature and attain his “man’s strength,”
Santa Cruz will become a more stout puncher.
What I've always respected
about this kid is his strong work ethic. It wasn't unusual to see him back at
the Maywood Boxing Club less than a week after a fight in Mexico, going right
back to the grind with his father. Yeah, there is no living room regimen for
this guy. After being released by Top Rank and the demise of TKO Boxing
(remember them?), Santa Cruz has been developed nicely by Golden Boy Promotions
(and his former manager, Cameron Dunkin). He is a testament to what hard work
and respect for the game can do for you.
Regardless of who he fights,
Santa Cruz has become must-see-TV.
- In perhaps the best fight of the night (on
either card), Marcos Maidana dramatically halted Jesus Soto Karass in the
eighth round. As usual, Maidana provided power punching and some fireworks but
while he was rallied against the normally durable Mexican, I have my doubts
about his long-term success as a welterweight. Yeah, Maidana can still bang but
I never thought he was the biggest 140-pounder and I think he'll be outsized by
most of the welterweights he'll face in the future. I think he's good enough to
down the Karasses of the world but not sure about the real blue-chip welters.
But when he fights, I want
to be there to witness it.
- The match-up between new WBC featherweight
beltholder Daniel Ponce de Leon and Jhonny Gonzalez was a disappointment.
Honestly, I expected a much more entertaining bout but instead we got a rather
cautious, guarded affair. Sometimes fights look much better on paper than they
do on the actual canvas. If you look at both guys’ records, they have high
knockout percentages and a history of being in slugfests but they simply didn't
make good dance partners on this evening. Eventually, Ponce de Leon captured
the belt via eighth round technical decision as the fight was halted after a
clash of heads seriously lacerated Gonzalez.
- The main event between WBC junior middleweight
titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Josesito Lopez was every bit the physical
mismatch everyone had feared. This was someone throwing hardballs versus a foe
who could only respond with spitballs. A sledgehammer versus a flyswatter. A
Louisville Slugger against a toothpick. You catch my drift. Every time “Canelo”
hit Lopez, he visibly moved him and you could just see how much the punches
affected him. “The Riverside Rocky” is as game as they come and he gave it the
best run he could but he was simply overmatched here.
Honestly, I would've thrown
in the towel after the late knockdown in round four. Lopez had played his role
(which was to provide a semi-marketable foe for Alvarez) and this was a lost
cause from the very beginning. I hope he got paid well for being cannon fodder
As for Alvarez, yeah, I know
he basically faced a blown-up junior welterweight but I'll say it right now on
the record; I'd pick him to beat Miguel Cotto at 154. I think 'Canelo' has
underrated speed and I think he's sound technically. Another factor is that I
believe Alvarez, for as admittedly unproven as he is at 154, is in his physical
prime with a lot left in his tank.
- Finally, on Monday afternoon, the gate
receipts for both cards were released by the NSAC. The card at the MGM Grand
had a gate of $1,618,150, sold 12,860 tickets and had 1,659 comps. Meanwhile,
the card at the Thomas and Mack, featuring the middleweight title bout between
Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. sold 16,939 tickets with 751 comps
for a gate of $3,052,475.
Now my question is this,
because both promotions did well (at least on the surface), will this spur more
lunacy between Golden Boy and Top Rank?
Well, c'mon, I think we already
know the answer to that question.