WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz will defend his title against Chris Avalos on Oct. 14 in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KO’s), 29, a Mexico native from Los Angeles, a three-division world champion, has been out of the ring since he avenged his 2016 loss to Carl Frampton and regained his title in an action-packed rematch on Jan. 28.
Avalos (27-5, 20 KO’s). 27, of Lancaster, California, fought for the IBF super bantamweight world title in 2015, but was knocked out in five rounds by Frampton. Since that fight, he has gone 2-2 with 1 KO, with both losses coming by way of knockout against undefeated WBO featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez, and undefeated Filipino Mark Magsayo.
Santa Cruz is an all-around good fighter. He knows when it’s time to be tactical, but he also knows when to be aggressive. In the Frampton rematch, his defense, combination punching, and counter-punching were much improved.
Avalos is a come forward fighter, but he tends to make more punishment with his less than stellar defense. In the Valdez fight, he was open for just about every big punch, and was exploited for it. Let’s take it round-by-round.
Round 1: Exciting opening round. Santa Cruz and Avalos meet at the center of the ring and exchange punches, but the champion has the upper hand.
Winner: Santa Cruz 10-9
Round 2: More of the same in the second round. Santa Cruz hurts Avalos with a counter uppercut.
Winner: Santa Cruz 20-18
Round 3: Clear Santa Cruz round.
Winner: Santa Cruz 30-27
Round 4: Santa Cruz takes the round with beautiful combination punching, and slick defense.
Winner: Santa Cruz 40-36
Round 5: Avalos has a better round, but Santa Cruz connects on a paralyzing left hook, and a counter jab.
Winner: Santa Cruz 50-45
Round 6: Santa Cruz is protecting his body nicely as Avalos fails to score inside, and rips a left hook to the head. Avalos scores with the right cross, but is getting countered, and thoroughly outclassed.
Winner: Santa Cruz 60-54
Round 7: Avalos feels a sense of urgency and comes out more aggressive in the seventh round, but it backfires. Santa Cruz takes a step back and connects on a big uppercut to the chin that sends Avalos to the floor. On wobbly legs, the referee stops the fight.
Winner: Santa Cruz by seventh-round TKO