Santa Cruz knocks out Zaleta in ninth round

LOS ANGELES – Leo Santa Cruz stopped Victor Zaleta at 1:42 of the ninth round to retain his IBF bantamweight title Saturday on the Abner Mares-Anselmo Moreno card Saturday at Staples Center.

Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13 knockouts) put a game Zaleta (20-3-1, 10 KOs) down with vicous left hooks to the body in the fourth and seventh rounds but ended the fight with a straight right to the face, which put him down and hurt him badly.

Referee Ray Corona didn’t bother to count, signaling the end of the fight as soon as Zaleta hit the canvas.

Santa Cruz, making his second defense, wore Zaleta down with his relentless attack to both the body – his specialty – and the head. Zaleta fired back but couldn’t withstand the pressure.

A full report will follow shortly.

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