In Victor “Viking” Terrazas, Leo Santa Cruz was facing the most significant test of his short career.
It just didn’t appear that way after roughly five minutes of action.
Terrazas (37-3-1, 21 KOs)is a tough, skilled fighter and determined as he proved by winning a war of attrition against Cristian Mijares last April. Many predicted that Terrazas would give Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KOs) a real challenge last Saturday night at the StubHub Arena in Carson, Ca.
Instead, Santa Cruz, nicknamed “Teremoto” (earthquake) rocked Terrazas off his axis. He took control of the fight immediately, employing a sustained attack that kept Terrazas on the defensive. His right hand landed multiple times.
In round two, Terrazas tried to fight back, but ran into more shots that backed him up. Santa Cruz mixed his blows to the head and body. His attack was ruthless and punishing. His left hook and right hand rarely missed.
Terrazas, who entered the fight as the defending super bantamweight titleholder, returned to his corner with a huge mouse growing under his right eye. By the start of third round he could barely see.
Santa Cruz wasted no time seeking the coupe de gras. He fired a salvo of punches to the head and body of his opponent. Terrazas backed up like a man walking the plank. He knew his time was up.
A sweeping left hook to the temple put him down.The courageous champion rose at seven. Santa Cruz laced him with a right hook. Terrazas sank to the canvas, the fight, and his title gone.
“This means the world to me,” said Santa Cruz in the ring after the bout.” It’s a dream come true. I was not expecting a knockout this early in the fight, I thought it would be later.”
"He's a great fighter, a warrior," Santa Cruz added. "If the fight was going to get tough, it was in the later rounds. I had to finish him fast."
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: firstname.lastname@example.org