That was all before a sizzling left hook dropped Mares halfway through the opening round. It was a perfect shot, one that the Mexican-American never saw coming. He beat the count, but when the fight resumed, it was apparent that Mares was in serious peril.
Gonzalez, who hails from Mexico City, intelligently swarmed his foe and dished out a series of punches that inevitably ended the battle. The flurry of blows was punctuated by another powerful left hook followed by a right hand, prompting referee Jack Reiss to stop it. There were only five seconds remaining in the round.
After the bout, Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KOs) proclaimed it was “the single greatest and most glorious moment” of his life, a victory that could set up a huge bout with unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz, who won in the night’s co-main event. Gonzalez said that he felt disrespected entering the bout because, as he said, all everybody was talking about was how great Mares was. The chip on his shoulder proved invaluable because he used that as the catalyst to flatten Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) and take the featherweight belt he held. Mares said he was okay with the Reiss’ decision to stop the fight, though he felt he could have continued.
Santa Cruz’s night lasted a bit longer but was just as spectacular as Gonzalez’s; he stopped opponent Victor Terrazas in the third round. In typical Santa Cruz fashion, the Los Angeles-based Mexico native was all over the defending super bantamweight title holder until Terrazas couldn’t handle anymore pressure.
Santa Cruz tore into his foe with seeming reckless abandonment and eventually the pressure forced Terrazas to wilt in the second. After a cut opened under Terrazas’ right eye, a massive flurry of punches sent him to canvas. Santa Cruz poured on the offense even more in the third and after knocking him down halfway through the frame, the end was near. Finally, referee Lou Moret stopped the assault at the 2:09 mark of the third, allowing Santa Cruz to improve to 25-0-1 with 15 KOs.
It was another sensational performance by Santa Cruz, who could potentially lock horns with Gonzales early next year. For his efforts, Terrazas, of Guadalajara, dipped to 37-3-1 with 21 KOs.
Also on the card:
In a battle of featherweights, 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. (7-0, 5 KO’s) of South El Monte, CA., was impressive with a third round knockout (1:54) over Noel Mendoza (6-3-1, 1 KO), of Phoenix.
In heavyweight action, 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale (6-0, 6 KO’s), of Los Angeles, passed the stiffest test of his young career via TKO in the fifth round against Lenroy Thomas (16-3, 8 KO’s) of St. Catherine, Jamaica.
Mike Sloan can be reached at email@example.com
August 24, 2013