Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz retains his WBA 126-pound title against Mexico's Rafael "Big Bang" Rivera with a dominating unanimous decision victory.
WBA world featherweight champ dissects a game Rafael Rivera over 12 rounds to retain his 126-pound title.
WBA world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz threw more punches on Saturday night than all but once in his 13-year career, putting on a boxing clinic for his hometown fans as he defeated Mexican Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera via lopsided unanimous decision.
Before a packed house and a PBC on Fox television audience, Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) threw 1,273 punches in 12 rounds, landing 334 of them (26%) in the night’s main event at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. The most punches he’s ever thrown in a fight was 1,350.
All three judges scored it 119-109 for Santa Cruz, each giving Rivera, a late-substitute who took the bout on three weeks’ notice, one of the 12 rounds. Rivera (26-3-2, 17 KOs) fought hard and had some moments but landed just 151 of 805 punches (19%), finding Santa Cruz a tough target to hit.
Santa Cruz came out targeting Rivera's body and landed some vicious shots, but between the relentless body work and some hard right uppercuts that landed solidly to Rivera's head, the champion was unable to put the challenger away.