Mark E. Ortega

Santa Cruz blitzes Terrazas to take WBC title

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It took less than three rounds for Leo Santa Cruz to add a second title in as many divisions to his résumé on Saturday night as he demolished WBC junior featherweight beltholder Victor Terrazas at the Stub Hub Center in the evening’s co-feature.

Terrazas (37-3-1, 21 KOs), of Guadalajara, was expected to give the 25-year old Santa Cruz some trouble, but Santa Cruz walked through his punches in order to batter his more experienced opponent.

The two traded uppercuts and body punches like they were baseball cards, but Santa Cruz proved the harder puncher. By the end of the second round, Terrazas’ face was a grotesque and swollen mess, particularly his right eye.

Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KOs) of Los Angeles, set up his left hands upstairs by punishing Terrazas to the body. The fourth and fifth punches of his numerous combinations nearly always landed. Terrazas showed up to fight but was just overmatched in nearly every way.

In the third, Terrazas, The RING’s No. 6 junior featherweight coming in (to No. 7 for Santa Cruz), hit the deck near the midway point when a left hand landed flush. The champion would gather himself and return to his feet, only to be put down once more from a combination that ended with a body shot. Though Terrazas made it up again, Dr. Lou Moret called it off at 2:09 of the round.

“I was not expecting a knockout this early,” said Santa Cruz after the fight. “I thought it would have been later. I knew I had to pressure him in order to break him down.”

Many were expecting Terrazas to push him into deep waters, but the swelling seemed to play a factor in the early finish.

“He was tough like I expected. He just caught me with a good shot,” said Terrazas after the fight. “I wanted to continue, I felt like I could continue, but I respect the referee’s decision.”

Though many are looking to a potential matchup between Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, Santa Cruz made it clear he intended to be a 122-pounder for the foreseeable future.

“I’d like to stay in this weight class for two more fights and then move up,” said Santa Cruz.

If Santa Cruz keeps producing results like Saturday night’s destruction of Terrazas, a Mares fight could become the new Lucas Matthysse-Danny Garcia fight, a bout that hardcore fight fans will demand more than any other.

 

Photo: Harry How-Gettyimages

 

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