In the run up to their 126-pound “Battle of Los Angeles” on August 29, Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares independently promised fireworks from the opening bell. But it’s difficult to believe either fighter thought they’d make good on that promise in the manner in which they did.
By the time their 12-round throwdown ended, the two Mexican-American brawlers had combined to throw more than 2,000 punches. Many of those shots were discharged in rapid-fire exchanges in which both fighters showed absolutely zero concern for their own well-being.
One such machine gun-like outburst occurred in the final minute of this round, which, truth be told, was hardly the only frame from this epic war that could’ve made this list.
So what put it over the top? Pay close attention from the very beginning of the video, when both fighters meet at center ring and Leo Santa Cruz immediately connects with a right to Abner Mares’ jaw. Mares responds by tapping his jaw twice with his glove while glaring at Santa Cruz, as if to say, “Keep it coming—I’ll be here all night!”
Yeah, it was that kind of fight.
For a complete recap of Santa Cruz vs Mares, visit our fight page. And to view the entire 12 Rounds of Christmas series, head over to our video page.