ON the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title defence against old rival Luis Ortiz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Leo Santa Cruz – boxing in the super-featherweight division for the first time – unanimously outpointed fellow Mexican-American Miguel Flores to win the vacant WBA crown and become a four-weight world title-holder.
The lively early rounds featured some good exchanges,
but Santa Cruz (Rosemead, California) began to control the distance and dictate
the tempo more in the middle frames – peppering Flores (Spring, Texas) with
long jabs and fast flurries behind a tight, high guard.
The well-conditioned Flores employed intelligent movement
and feints, yet Santa Cruz’s relentless, educated pressure forced his foe to
grab and hold on at times, leading to a point deduction in the eighth.