Leo Santa CruzThe Premier Boxing Champions series is at the Staples Center and on ESPN this Saturday night with a highly anticipated showdown at Featherweight between Abner Mares (29-1-1) and Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1). The undefeated Santa Cruz is favored at (-200) in this one, with the comeback on Mares paying (+170). The over/under for this twelve rounder is at 9 1/2, with the over paying at (-325) and the under returning (+265). The match is for the vacant WBC Diamond belt. This is a premier match featuring two of the top little guys in the world. Santa Cruz has a draw in his second professional fight back in 2007, otherwise he has a perfect record. Santa Cruz has held world titles in two weight classes, including holding a world title at Bantamweight that MAres vacated when he moved up in weight class. A fight between the two men has been talked about for years. Despite his amazing run of victories, Santa Cruz does have the lesser level of competition on his resume. Mares is a three division world champion, and he has actually held a world title at Featherweight, as he defeated Mexico’s Ponce De Leon for the WBC version of the belt. He lost that belt when he suffered a first round KO at the hands of Jhonny Gonzalez back in August of 2013, but he has been on the comeback trail going (3-0) in the interim. Though Santa Cruz will have advantages in height and weight, Mares has the stiffer competition on his resume and he may warrant a look as an underdog in this fight. Also scheduled for this card is a strong Super Bantamweight bout for an interim version of the IBF World Title between Hugo Ruiz (35-2) and Julio Ceja (29-1). Both men have moved up from the Bantamweight division where they have competed in recent years. Ruiz held an interim title in the lower weight class, and he defended that belt several times before moving up in weight. Ruiz is considered to be in his prime, with his lone loss in the last 8 years coming to Japan’s Koki Kameda in Tokyo. For his part, despite a resume with 30 fights already on it, Ceja is still just 22 years old. Look for Ruiz to come in as the favorite for this one when a line does pop up at the books.


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