James Brown was once called the hardest-working man in show business. In today's era of boxing, Leo Santa Cruz might be the hardest-working man in prize-fighting. He is set to fight for the fifth time this year on Saturday night.
The undefeated IBF bantamweight champion will defend against Alberto Guevara on Saturday night.
Santa Cruz won the vacant title against Vusi Malinga in June in his second fight of the calendar year. He subsequently stopped Eric Morel and Victor Zaleta in September and November, respectively. He's already 22-0 with 13 KOs and building quite a resume.
Guevara is also undefeated at 16-0 with six KOs, but he is facing a major step-up in competition. He's had only one fight scheduled for longer than eight rounds. The matchup is even bigger because it marks the return of boxing to network television.
The bout is part of a special card that begins on CBS, and culminates with feature bouts on Showtime. This bout is part of the CBS portion.
Guevara last fought in April, winning an eight-round decision over Raul Hidlago. We'll have to see if he's ready to step up to the big time.
Here's how you can catch the action, and some analysis into the bout.
Where: Los Angeles Sports Arena in Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Saturday, December 15, 4:30 p.m. ET
The Book on Santa Cruz
Tale of the Tape
This kid bangs the body as well as any young fighter in the sport. Santa Cruz has stopped three opponents with a single body shot. He's always coming forward, and is a very accurate puncher.
Take a look at him against Mulinga:
Santa Cruz keeps his chin tucked with his hands high, but he fires powerful counter shots with impressive fluidity. As evidenced by the frequency of his fights, he is a pure gym rat that loves the sport.
Santa Cruz is a real talent with a very bright future.
Santa Cruz doesn't have a lot of lateral movement or great foot speed, but he attempts make up for that with pressure and technique.
A slick and athletic boxer could pose him the biggest threat. It would be interesting to see how he would react to fighting someone that doesn't stand directly in front of him.
The Book on Guevara
Tale of the Tape (per BoxRec.com)
As you can tell by the limited information available for Guevara via BoxRec, there isn't a lot known about the Mexican challenger.
Taking a look at the amateur video below, the man they call Metro shows a similar stance to Santa Cruz, and at the 2:29 mark, you can see Guevara knows the value of going to the body as well.
He drops his unnamed opponent with a vicious left hand liver shot.
With so little to judge, it is hard to criticize extensively, but Guevara's hand speed looks to be only moderate. However, with only 16 fights and no major competition on his resume, experience would have to be his biggest weakness.
It is unlikely Guevara will have the experience to handle a fast-rising prospect like Santa Cruz. Stamina could be a major concern if the fight extends beyond the sixth round.
Expect to see a late-round stoppage as Guevara's corner will want to preserve their young fighter after Santa Cruz pounds him for seven or eight rounds.
This should end as a TKO victory for Santa Cruz.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games