Miguel Flores vs. Leo Santa Cruz
|Date & Time||Saturday February 16, 2019, 11:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Leo Santa Cruz and Miguel Flores fight Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the WBA (Super) featherweight title.
Leo Santa Cruz enters this fight with a 35-1-1 record that includes 19 knockouts. Santa Cruz has won five of his last seven fights, and he’s coming off a June win over Abner Mares. Santa Cruz has now won three straight fights since his loss to Carl Frampton and will be defending his belt for a third straight fight. Santa Cruz is coming off a dominating performance in which he landed 34 percent of his punches and dodged majority of the big shots from Mares. Santa Cruz is 30 years old, stands at 5’7”, has a 69 inch reach and an orthodox stance. Santa Cruz has some of the quicker hands in the sport and is one of the busiest workers in boxing, as he throws a ton of punches and is always coming forward, looking to be the aggressor at all times. In his last bout, Santa Cruz through over 1,000 punches. Santa Cruz simply won’t be outworked in the ring, making it tough for him to lose a fight if it goes to the judges, as his only career loss was a majority decision to Frampton. While known for his aggressive offense, Santa Cruz is also underrated defensively and does a wonderful job of slipping punches. You almost never see Santa Cruz take a clean shot from his opponent. This will be Santa Cruz’s 11th career fight in Nevada.
Miguel Flores enters this fight with a 23-2 record that includes 11 knockouts. Flores’ has won six of his last eight fights, and he’s coming off an April win over Raul Chirino. Flores is one of those intriguing prospects who has never been given a big break, so this will be his chance to show and prove himself in front of the world. Flores is 26 years old, stands at 5’8”, has a 69 inch reach and an orthodox stance. Flores has experienced losses to Chris Avalos and Dat Nguyen, both in stoppages, which certainly isn’t encouraging entering this bout. However, Flores does have a promising skillset with some quickness and pop in his hands, certainly more than his knockout percentage suggests. Flores does impressive body work and usually follows a clean shot to the ribs with a right hook. Flores usually puts his punches together nicely and has shown he can take a punch despite being stopped twice in his young career. Still, Flores hasn’t been overly impressive when you look at his resume, so this is certainly a chance for him to silence some doubters who have written him off.
Flores has potential and does nice body work that gives him a chance to climb up the rankings in due time. This isn’t a complete joke of a fight like many would think. With that said, Santa Cruz is in no position to lose this bout. Flores is still raw in some areas and hasn’t fought somebody anywhere close in the same class of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is too smart, too polished defensively and too aggressive offensively for the young Flores, who said he wants to end this fight within six rounds.
I look for Santa Cruz to win this fight by knockout in the fourth or fifth round.