(Leo Santa Cruz catches Cristian Mijares; via)
Keep coming back to this spot for undercard results for the Showtime pay-per-view headlined by junior middleweights Saul Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo. Several bouts of value have fallen off the card, unfortunately, so we'll see what we get from this version of the undercard. We'll go in chronological order:
Due to a prior engagement, I missed the first three rounds of Sergio Thompson's unanimous decision win over Ricardo Alvarez, but nobody seemed to think it was as close as two of the cards, 95-93. The final card of 97-91 was more in the ballpark, most thought. I saw Alvarez won a couple rounds of the lightweight contest, but Thompson won the majority and scored two knockdowns. The older brother of Canelo did put up a fight, trading blows in a macho Mexican showdown. It was good bloody fun. It's probably too soon to say from this what kind of impact Thompson can make at 135 pounds after being a 130-pound contender, albeit a shaky one.
Jorge Linares, an electric talent with a brownout chin, stayed on his feet against human punch sponge Nihito Arakawa, and that's all he needs to do to win fights. With his lead left uppercuts, timing and speed, he avoided Arakawa's charges while dishing out heavy punishment of his own. The two lightweights did engage in a fight that was not quite a slugfest, although at times when Arakawa got close and fired combinations, it resembled one. Midway through the fight, Linares' domination began to dim, and he was getting hit cleanly here and there. This is usually when Linares' chin abandons him, but not this time. Nor did it abandon him when he suffered a late cut due to a head butt, which helped trigger his downfall against Antonio DeMarco. The two men traded punches in the final round and Linares held up. Not sure whether this means Arakawa isn't much of a puncher or Linares has somehow fortified his biggest weakness, but the cards, a near shutout or shutout in all cases, were accurate whatever the cause of Linares staying awake. Linares vs. Omar Figueroa makes sense next; whether Linares can stay on his feet against the man who gave Arakawa an even worse pounding than Linares did — that's not a sure bet, at all.
There were some (including yours truly) who thought Cristian Mijares, with his veteran savvy and quick feet, could pose Leo Santa Cruz some problems given Santa Cruz's lack of either and his historical difficulty with "movers." Instead, Santa Cruz completely dominated him. One scorecard was 119-109, for some reason; the other two were a proper total shutout of 120-108. When Santa Cruz tried to circle and run, Santa Cruz beat him up. When Mijares tried to trade, Santa Cruz beat him up. When he tried to lead or counter — you know the drill. Santa Cruz's size and youthful energy were far, far too much for Mijares. Mijares had made a bit of a run at junior featherweight, rebounding from three consecutive losses in 2008 and 2009. But whatever form he showed then either has disappated or Santa Cruz made it so it didn't matter. The talk now is of Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton, a big, big step up for Santa Cruz. That is some fight. Let's have it.