Santa Cruz and Mares Win Big, Setting Up Another Showdown

Chris Avalos

Santa Cruz made the first defense of his second tour as featherweight champion with a one-sided 8th round stoppage of Chris Avalos in the evening's main event.

In the opening bout of the telecast, previously undefeated Eddie Ramirez (17-0 going in) took a big jump up in class and found himself in too deep against Tijuana-based Antonio DeMarco who dismissed him at the 2:00 mark of the opening round.

DeMarco, a southpaw, was a big step up in competition for Ramirez.

The WBA championship rematch was contingent upon both winning Saturday and Mares did his part by taking a unanimous decision over fellow Mexican Andres Gutierrez.

Mares started the fight off fast and landed several good combinations in the first round on a plodding Gutierrez.

Gutierrez attempted to give his all and rally back during periods in the mid rounds, but it was not to be enough to get away from the Mares right hand, with a cut opening up over the left eye as a result on the challenger. He continued to land punches and by the 10 round Mares' injury was so bad he could not continue.

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Due to California rules on the cut, Mares was forced to go to the scorecards but won wide across the board for a 31st career victory. The popular Santa Cruz, a buzzsaw, improved to 32-1-1 (18) while retaining the "super" version of his WBA strap.

Avalos was able to counter a little better in the fifth round, but Santa Cruz's pressure firmly established control in the sixth. However in the eighth after a series of punches from Santa Cruz referee Thomas Taylor stepped in and stopped Avalos from further damage stopping the fight at 1:34.

The fourth round was violent, as Santa Cruz had Avalos badly hurt with his high volume punches in the middle of the ring but somehow still managed to throw back.

Avalos, 27, was a surprising choice as Santa Cruz's opponent since he had lost three of his previous five fights before Saturday's contest, including a TKO loss at the hands of Frampton.

Avalos bitterly complained to the referee, but he was getting soundly beaten. Santa Cruz showed no signs of slowing down in the seventh as he began to focus on the body of Avalos.

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