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Victor Terrazas vs. Leo Santa Cruz: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

Briggs SeekinsFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2013

Victor Terrazas vs. Leo Santa Cruz: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

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    This Saturday on the Abner Mares vs. Jhonny Gonzalez undercard WBC super bantamweight champion Victor Terrazas will defend his belt against undefeated Leo Santa Cruz.

    Leo Santa Cruz is one of the sport's fastest rising stars. He's an all-action fighter who is already routinely showcased on national television.

    Victor Terrazas is an experienced veteran with wins over top-ranked fighters.

    These are two Mexican ring warriors with world-class talent. This is a fight no true boxing fan will want to miss, so Showtime and Time Warner, please fix your contractual problems quickly. 

Tale of the Tape

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    Per Boxrec      Victor Terrazas     Leo Santa Cruz
    Record:     37-2-1, 21 KOs      24-0, 14 KOs
    Height:     5'7"     5'7"
    Reach:     69"     69"
    Weight:     122 lbs     122 lbs
    Age:     30     25
    Stance:     Orthodox     Orthodox
    Hometown:     Guadalajara, Mexico     Rosemead, CA
    Rounds:     233     128

     

    These two boxers have the same listed height and weight. So far in his career, Leo Santa Cruz has benefited from being bigger than most of his opponents at 118. 

    He won't have that edge against the fighter known as "Vikingo." 

    Victor Terrazas has nearly twice as many fights as Leo Santa Cruz and 105 more professional rounds, but Santa Cruz has already fought a high level of opposition. 

Main Storylines

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    Guillermo Rigondeaux has to be ranked as the top fighter in the division at super bantamweight, but this is still a very significant fight at 122 pounds.

    Victor Terrazas won his belt from well-regarded Cristian Mijares by a split decision last April. He hasn't lost a fight in over three years and in November 2011, he knocked down Fernando Montiel en route to winning a unanimous decision.

    He is a champion you want to watch fight in any situation, but on Saturday he faces Leo Santa Cruz, an all-action, undefeated former champion at 118.

    Leo Santa Cruz is viewed by many observers as one of the sport's potential breakout stars. This will be the third card he's shared with Abner Mares in the past year, so you have to believe Golden Boy is deliberately planting the seeds for Santa Cruz and Mares at some point if everything keeps going along as planned.

    In Terrazas, Santa Cruz he has an opponent he can look good against, along with the opportunity to become a two-division world champ.

    Santa Cruz doesn't have a sure thing. Terrazas should test him more than any previous opponent.

      

Strengths

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    Victor Terrazas is an experienced fighter with good skills. He keeps his guard up and picks up punches well, but his main objective is to get in the pocket and sit down on his punches. 

    When fighting inside, Terrazas is very good at picking up space to land on his opponents. 

    Terrazas throws heavy punches. He's not a knockout king, but he knows how to make his punches count and exact a toll. 

    Leo Santa Cruz comes forward like a lower-weight Antonio Margarito. He throws hard and fast and does not seem to tire.

    Santa Cruz works heavily to the body at times and can wear down an opponent. He can box a little bit, too,  but a fight with Santa Cruz is a fight first of all.

     

Weaknesses

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    Victor Terrazas is not completely without defensive art, but he spends most of each round well within range of getting hit. Against an opponent who throws as many punches as Santa Cruz, he's going to get landed upon. 

    Terrazas is only 30, but he's been fighting four times a year for a decade in Mexico. He's a young man, but he's not boxing young. 

    Leo Santa Cruz is compared to Margarito in a compliment to the young fighter, but he's still a guy who puts himself into position to be hit again and again.

    It's a game of attrition that he's had no problem of winning so far and it's made him a rising commodity in the sport. It will be interesting to see how he approaches a more-experienced fighter who he might have trouble pushing around.

     

     

Victor Terrazas Will Win If...

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    Victor Terrazas should get rough with Leo Santa Cruz and try to either intimidate him or simply make him mad.

    Santa Cruz is going to come for war from the first round on anyway, so Terrazas should play the role of cagey veteran and look to get inside his head a little bit. 

    There's no guarantee Santa Cruz is the type of fighter who will be susceptible to mind games. I'd consider it unlikely, but like I said, there's going to be nothing gentlemanly about this scrap until it's time to shake hands at the end.

    Beyond that, Terrazas should look to cover up and then time the beats where he can score amid the hurricane against Santa Cruz.

    Terrazas is durable, but Santa Cruz will be throwing a lot of punches from a lot of angles. Terrazas needs to land quickly on Santa Cruz in return every time that he can catch an opening.

    If Terrazas can hurt Santa Cruz a little bit early, shake his confidence a touch and give him a genuine taste of adversity, we could be looking at an instant classic.  

Leo Santa Cruz Will Win If...

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    I think Leo Santa Cruz can win this fight doing pretty much what he has done in all of his fights so far. I believe he will be able to come forward and throw fluid, high-volume punches from a dizzying array of angles and once more overwhelm his opponent.

    But he might not find Victor Terrazos quite so easy to walk down as Victor Zaleta or Alexander Munoz.

     I have never seen Santa Cruz need to fight in any gear besides forward. Against Terrazas, he might need to be ready to do so

    Terrazas is very likely to hit him back harder and maybe more often than he is used to.

    Santa Cruz usually finishes his flurries in a good defensive position, but he's also usually the only one really putting on the pressure in a fight and getting virtually none in return. 

    Santa Cruz needs to come forward the way he always does, but he's got to be a little more careful about picking up Terrazas' counters and he's got to be ready to adjust and reassert himself if he finds himself momentarily being shoved around for a change. 

     

     

     

Prediction

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    I get the impression that a lot of fans are viewing this as a pencil-in for Leo Santa Cruz.

    It's anything but that.

    Victor Terrazas lost his first professional fight and lost over three years ago to Rendall Munroe, a pretty good fighter who now fights at super featherweight. 

    Since then, he's beaten everybody in front of him, including a couple of high-level opponents. 

    I think he will give Santa Cruz some of the toughest rounds of his career. But I think Santa Cruz will wear him down with his sheer volume of punches and take control in the second half of the fight. 

    This will be a very exciting fight and it will be a case where Terrazas is gallant in defeat. It's a shame it won't have the audience it deserves due to Time Warner and Showtime squabbling over whatever rich people squabble over when they are preventing honest boxing fans from watching what they pay to watch. 

    My prediction for this fight is Leo Santa Cruz by decision, winning eight of the 12 rounds with a knockdown. 

     

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