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A sold out Honda Center in Los Angeles was all-in for a sensational night of boxing as fans were given two classic knockouts that will not be forgotten anytime soon. The night opened with a highly anticipated rematch between WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Julio Ceja and Hugo Ruiz. Ruiz came in with supreme confidence as stated by Showtime boxing analyst and brilliant mind of boxing, Paulie Malignaggi and it showed. Ruiz instantly went into attack mode knocking down now former champion Ceja 15 seconds into the first round with a vicious straight right hand. Ceja did make it to his feet and wanted to continue to fight but as the fighters exchanged further punches, it was obvious that Ceja was hurt and the referee stepped in to call the fight; a wise and professional decision as medical treatment was required for Ceja as cameras showed him leaving the arena on a stretcher after an apparent lower leg injury. Thoughts and prayers to Ceja for a speedy recovery as I’m sure he’ll be ready for a third fight against Ruiz when he is healthy.
Leo Santa Cruz has arrived and be ready for an incredible future for this Mexican star. He’s defending his WBA Featherweight Title for the first time versus Kiko Martinez. Santa Cruz stepped into the ring and put on a show that all boxing fans love to see. The high rate of punches thrown by Santa Cruz (140 total first round) is the type of style that entertains and keeps fans coming back for more. After delivering two first round knockdowns to Martinez, Santa Cruz used his hand speed and accuracy to break down Martinez who eventually folded in the fifth round by TKO. Brutal combinations repeatedly landed cleanly on Martinez’s chin forcing the referee to stop this fight at the appropriate time. “Protect yourself at all times” is a golden rule of boxing, and when that can’t happen it is the referee’s job and sole responsibility to protect the fighter from suffering further injury and preserving a career/life for the fighter. With Santa Cruz vs Martinez throwing over a combined 1,000 punches into the fifth round, boxing fans need to look further at these lighter fighters to get their fight-fill. The days of turning to heavyweights for entertaining fights has been over.
There are new, smarter types of boxing fans starting to come to the surface around the world, knowing that the hype of Pay Per View (PPV) fights aren’t necessarily going to make for great fights. Style makes great fights, not networks forcing paydays on both sides with the fans footing the bill. Saturday night proved to fans around the world that plenty of more than quality boxing is happening and it’s time to stop being so sensitive when a fight isn’t mind-boggling entertaining.