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PBC on ESPN results: Santa Cruz earns (mostly) lopsided decision over Mares

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Leo Santa Cruz made his first real step up in competition tonight against the battle-tested Abner Mares, and didn't disappoint.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares were expected to throw down tonight in Los Angeles, and throw down they did. From the early going, Mares (29-2-1, 15 KO) looked to swarm his long-limbed opponent, and he dominated the opening round of the fight by repeatedly charging inside, roughing Santa Cruz up in the clinch and slugging away at his torso. Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KO) quickly adjusted, and started stepping back from Mares' attempts to hold and hit, meeting his charges with hard counters and swinging away when Mares was determined to walk through those counters.

Mares seemed lost by the later rounds, as his corner gave him contradictory instructions and Santa Cruz stuck firmly to his adjustments. Santa Cruz managed to slow the pace as the fight wore on, keeping Mares at arm's reach, and by the final round there was no doubt that he had managed to outbox the aggressive Mares.

And, uh... about that draw scorecard. Yeah...

Leo Santa Cruz defeats Abner Mares by Majority Decision (117-111, 114-114, 117-111)

Bad Left Hook scored it 118-110 for Leo Santa Cruz

The co-feature was a solid matchup between two fringe contenders at super bantamweight, Hugo Ruiz and Julio Cesar Ceja. Ruiz (35-3, 31 KO) got much the better of the action through the early rounds, keeping the aggressive Ceja on the end of his jab and countering him as he came in. Ceja (30-1, 27 KO) walked into a beautiful uppercut near the end of round one, and a counter left hook from Ruiz put him down near the end of round three. Ceja simply refused to go away, though. In fact, his volume increased, and his body punches began to land as the fight wore on. Ruiz still seemed to be in control of the bout when Ceja suddenly uncorked a picture-perfect left hook halfway through the fifth round, clipping Ruiz on the jaw during his own left hook and sending him to the canvas. Ruiz got up, but Ceja poured it on, putting him down again in the corner and compelling the referee to call of the bout. Incredible comeback by Ceja, and a great way to start tonight's event.

Julio Cesar Ceja defeats Hugo Ruiz by TKO (referee stoppage) at 2:34 of Round 5