In the precursor to the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17 KOs) cruised to a 10-round unanimous-decision win over the unheralded Jose Cayetano (17-4, 8 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
HBO Boxing provided the judges' cards, a clean shutout for Santa Cruz:
Cayetano was a late addition to the card, giving him little time to properly prepare for this fight. Santa Cruz, whose WBC world super bantamweight title was not on the line in this contest, easily handled Cayetano but could have put on a more impressive showing considering his obvious talent.
Bleacher Report's Briggs Seekins noted that Cayetano wasn't exactly the type of challenge one might expect for a fighter of Santa Cruz's stature and an event of this magnitude:
Despite his unassuming background, Cayetano proved to be a game opponent and traded shots with Santa Cruz early on. Santa Cruz peppered him with two-punch combos early on but didn't let the power punches fly much with Cayetano bouncing around the ring and throwing in counterpunches.
Boxer Paul Malignaggi admired Cayetano's willingness to engage his talented opposition:
Much like Vasyl Lomachenko in his dominant win over Gamalier Rodriguez earlier in the card, Santa Cruz had his opponent's strategy unlocked by the third round.
ESPN's Dan Rafael noted his emerging control over the fight:
Santa Cruz—gloves held high—was able to walk Cayetano into the corner and unleash quick combinations, with the most effective punch being a left hook to the body. Santa Cruz's power didn't appear to stagger Cayetano at any particular point in the first four rounds, but he was still the more effective boxer working at a typically high rate.
The one-sided fight did lead to plenty of snark on Twitter, with some like Chris Mannix noting that the NBA playoffs might've been the better choice for a fight warm-up:
Top Rank Boxing noted the fifth was all Santa Cruz:
Despite Santa Cruz's voluminous punching and little time to prepare for this bout, Cayetano was able to hang tough in the fight. He danced around the ring, forcing Santa Cruz to chase and limiting his ability to line up power punches.
Box Bet's Tom Craze was no fan of Santa Cruz's performance:
Cayetano showed nothing in his arsenal that could back off Santa Cruz, and the 26-year-old titleholder was content to cruise to an easy win on the cards with little at stake and a comfortable lead built up over the course of the fight.
Santa Cruz hasn't faced a worthy challenger in quite some time, a likely source of consternation among fans. His punch rate and talent should make him a candidate for more entertaining, competitive fights, but it remains to be seen how his team will handle his career from this point on.
A spot on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard is a boon for any prizefighter, but boxing fans will likely be left wanting more from both Santa Cruz and the promoters after this display.