The sweet science user’s manual says you use the jab to set up your big shots.
On a night that saw more bombs getting thrown around than a Razzie Awards sizzle reel, Flores (24-0, 17 KOs) got off the bigger, more accurate shots to earn a 12th-round stoppage over a game Cusolito (21-2, 19 KOs) and remain unbeaten in the process.
“I totally agree [with the stoppage] because you could tell he didn’t want any more,” Flores said. “I’m going to relax, take a vacation and enjoy my family, but Leo Santa Cruz—I want that fight. I’ll move up to 126 [pounds], because it would create a great fight.”
The two men combined to throw 1,722 punches, of which a mere 474 were jabs.
That the power game would be the go-to offensive weapon of choice for both fighters was evident from the opening bell, when both men came out winging it. But Flores was the aggressor right from the get-go with Cusolito looking to bring it home with huge counterpunches, in particular a chopping overhand right that often connected as Flores went low.
Cusolito timed his counters much better starting in the second, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the more aggressive Flores, who frequently marched Cusolito into the corners and hammered away on the inside.
For a fighter who had never been beyond the seventh, Cusolito was game in the latter rounds. Every time Flores connected on big shots, Cusolito answered with a few bombs of his own.
Though Flores was ahead on all three cards going into the 12th, both fighters came out like the fight could have gone either way, and traded punch for punch. Flores had the better of it, though, and pounded Cusolito with a right hook, a straight left and a final right that caused Cusolito to backpedal in something of a daze.
That’s when referee Benjy Esteves jumped in and waved off the fight, sending Flores home with his 24th win and dreams of stepping up to 126—something he’s done in the past, as recently as last year—for a hopeful date with Santa Cruz.
For the full recap of Flores vs Cusolito, including photos and video, make sure to check out our fight page.