Mexican featherweight Leo Santa Cruz retained his WBA belt on Saturday with a unanimous decision victory over Abner Mares.
Santa Cruz (34-1-1-KO19) largely controlled the fight, a rematch of their 2015 featherweight title bout, and was awarded the win on all three judges’ scorecards -115-113, 116-112, 117-111.
“I did what I had to do to win the fight,” Santa Cruz said. “Mares is a tough fighter. Thank God I got the victory.”
Santa Cruz took the win despite suffering a serious cut over his left eye in the eighth round – the result of a head butt from Mares.
“A cut is a cut. It is just blood. It wasn’t bothering my eyes. It just gives me more motivation,” added Santa Cruz.
Mares (31-3-1-KO15) admits Santa Cruz deserved to win but believes he did enough to warrant a third fight.
“I am sorry I came out short,” said Mares. “It is always a problem trying to get inside on him. I fought my heart out but at the end of the day, I did my best.
“Let’s do a third fight.”
Meanwhile, on the undercard, WBC super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo successfully defended his belt for the third time by defeating Austin Trout via a 12-round majority decision.
Charlo (31-0-KO15) floored his opponent twice on his way to victory, with two of the judges’ scoring in favour of the Texan, 115-111 and 118-108, with the third scoring the bout a 113-113 draw.