Leo Santa Cruz vs. Victor Terrazas preview & prediction

Credit: Tom Casino / Showtime
Credit: Tom Casino / Showtime

Fight Pick & Preview: Santa Cruz vs. Terrazas –

On the Abner Mares-Jhonny Gonzalez card in Carson on August 24, rising and unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz shoots for Victor Terrazas’ WBC 122-pound crown. This is a step up for Santa Cruz who is building a nice following in the Southland. We shouldn’t be so quick, however, to discount the chances of the well-accomplished Terrazas.

Santa Cruz, 24, is having his second fight at 122, having stopped ex-titlist Alexander Munoz in his last fight in May. He has created a lot of buzz over the past year and change with a slew of TV appearances where he has impressed with his aggression and excellent body-punching. Santa Cruz goes to the body with a naturalness that is reminiscent of some of the great Mexican champions of the past.

  • Date: August 24, 2013
  • Site: StubHub Center, Carson, California
  • Weight Class: WBC Super Bantamweight Title: 12 Rounds

Leo Santa Cruz, 24-0-1 (14 KOs), Rosemead, California
vs.
Victor Terrazas, 37-2-1 (21 KOs), Guadalajara, Mexico, WBC 122-Pound Champion

Credit: Tom Casino / Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino / Showtime

This is a measured step up for Santa Cruz, who should be in some big fights soon. There is a hopeful feeling with him, but he hasn’t yet received the opportunity to see if his skills translate against a top-notch fighter. This fight with Terrazas should go at least a small way toward determining that. Santa Cruz has a few defensive holes, but opponents are usually too worried about the incoming hailstorm to do much about it. Maybe Terrazas can do better.

The 122-pound class is top-heavy, with a supreme commander in Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Nonito Donaire–if he chooses to stay at this weight. After that, you basically have a bunch of guys. Among the better of that group is Terrazas. The Mexican has lost twice in 40 fights, with one of those defeats coming in his 2003 pro debut.

Terrazas, 30, has racked up some nice victories on his recent run of wins. In 2011, he beat former bantamweight titlist Nehomar Cermeno and former 3-division champion Fernando Montiel. In his last bout, he won the vacant WBC 122-pound belt against Cristian Mijares. While Mijares hadn’t gotten back to his form of 2007-08 when he was seen on most PFP lists, he was on a 11-fight win streak and had seen a bit of a career renaissance. So while Terrazas languishes in relative anonymity, he does have some credentials and should represent the most-robust test of the young Santa Cruz’ career.

A closer look at the recent record of Terrazas shows some possible points of concern. Sure, this is a bottom-line business. Terrazas has been winning and that speaks loudest. It’s hard, however, to not notice his best wins are against guys whose best fighting was behind them. In addition, his wins over Mijares and Cermeno were by split decision. His win over Montiel was decided by only 1, 2, and 3 points. And in his last fight before he beat Mijares, he won only a split nod over the 23-10 Juan Ruiz, who had lost 5 in a row and 8 of his last 9 going into that fight.

Terrazas hasn’t been dominating these guys and you’d prefer to see him winning by wider margins against this level of opponent if he were to have a realistic chance against Santa Cruz. He was also knocked out by British contender Rendall Munroe in 2010. Maybe the trip across the ocean took something out of him, as all his previous bouts had been in Mexico until that point. His only other fight outside his homeland was the poor showing against Ruiz, so maybe he doesn’t travel very well.

Santa Cruz is hopefully building toward something bigger. Patience is running out a little bit. They have been showcasing him for a while now and although Terrazas is a reasonable test at this juncture, let’s hope he doesn’t forever languish at this level because of conservative matchmaking. Ideally, within the next 6-9 months, you’d like to see him take on a guy like Mares, a fight Golden Boy seems to be building towards, or even Rigondeaux.

Santa Cruz vs. Terrazas Prediction

Terrazas is a good fighter who has done well to get this far. He may have hit his ceiling, though, with Santa Cruz being a little too fresh, insistent, and talented for the titleholder. Santa Cruz’ approach won’t be a mystery. He’ll attack the body and slowly sap the resolve of Terrazas, who will do well to see the final bell.

Prediction: Leo Santa Cruz wins by unanimous decision.

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