Leo Santa Cruz victorious, but Rafael Rivera surprisingly held his own

WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz at left against Abner Mares puts his title at risk Saturday against fellow Mexican Rafael Rivera

WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz at left against Abner Mares puts his title at risk Saturday against fellow Mexican Rafael Rivera

Santa Cruz dominated over 12 rounds in Los Angeles, where the Mexican boxer defended his belt for the third time. According to CompuBox, he threw 1,273 punches which is the second highest punch count of his career. Rivera stepped in on late notice to replace original Santa Cruz foe Miguel Flores, who injured his ankle in training.

Although Rivera (26-3-2, 17 KOs) didn't come close to the upset, he fought a spirited fight and actually had his moments against Santa Cruz.

"People will know me better now and it was a great experience". "He motivates me to go to the gym and train hard, because I know if he sees me working hard, it will motivate him as well".

In 2018 he took the year off to recover from an injury and get some much-needed rest after being in tough physical fights.

Santa Cruz took inspiration from his father and trainer Jose Santa Cruz, who is battling bone marrow cancer.

"It means the world to me (to have my father in my corner)", Santa Cruz said. "When I climb in the ring, I don't want to let my dad down. I wanted to win so he could be happy and continue fighting against cancer, and I thank God and the fans for the support they gave me to win this fight". This might be a sign that Santa Cruz's abilities are declining ever so slightly.

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Santa Cruz talks about how unsafe Rivera keeping the belt and open to fighting Josh Warrington, Oscar Valdez, & a possible Santa Cruz vs. Frampton 3 & many more! I want to fight any of the champions at featherweight or have a third fight with Carl Frampton. "I want to fight three times this year, hopefully by June or July".

The action began early, with Figueroa showing his typical aggressive style, snapping sharp overhand rights and pushing Molina to the ropes. Figueroa earned a unanimous decision by scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93.

Omar Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KOs) of Welasco, Texas is and undefeated former WBC lightweight world champion and is best known for his brutal war against Japanese Nihito Arakawa. Molina, 36, comes away with a 30-8 record (24 KOs), wondering how he got outscored so badly in his home state of California, in a fight that appeared more evenly matched.

The fight changed from a junior welterweight to a welterweight bout on Friday when Figueroa weighed in well over the 140-pound limit.

"I want to move up the rankings and get to the top five by the end of the year", said Fundora. Figueroa also out landed Molina 10-4 and 11-1 in the final two rounds. He landed 334 of those punches compared to Rivera's 151. It was as if Rivera was saying this won't be an easy night.

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