Santa Cruz vs Malinga Results: Leo Santa Cruz Dominates, Wins First World Title

Leo Santa Cruz shut down Vusi Malinga to win his first world title tonight. (Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime)

Leo Santa Cruz emerged tonight as a bantamweight worth watching, as the 23-year-old Mexican-American dominated 12 rounds against South Africa's Vusi Malinga, winning the vacant IBF bantamweight title. Official scores were 120-108, 120-108, and 119-109. Bad Left Hook scored it 120-108 for Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11 KO) showed remarkable workrate, throwing a metric ton of punches (1,350 total) and punishing the body of Malinga (20-4-1, 12 KO).

[ Live Coverage Continues: Trout vs Rodriguez Next ]

Still it's worth noting that Santa Cruz never had Malinga in any real danger, and it's worth wondering if his power is going to carry up in class. He's a top prospect and now a "world champion," and he fought exceptionally well here, but it was against a guy who hasn't fought since October 2010, too.

That's not to take anything away from the performance, but eventually it was just routine. Malinga had no power and though he was game, was never remotely in the fight. Santa Cruz truly owned the ring in this fight.

It will be very, very interesting to see how he does against a legitimate top bantamweight, though. There's no doubt the kid can fight, but like Canelo Alvarez, he's a baby world champ who has yet to beat a top fighter. And I say this as a big fan of Santa Cruz, too. There are still questions to be answered.

Our live coverage of Four Warned continues here, with Austin Trout facing Delvin Rodriguez next.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bad Left Hook

You must be a member of Bad Left Hook to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bad Left Hook. You should read them.

Join Bad Left Hook

You must be a member of Bad Left Hook to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bad Left Hook. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker