By Michael Shepherd (@msheps10)
On Saturday October 14, both Featherweight titleholders defend their belts on the same Champions card.
Three division Champion Leo Santa Cruz (31-1-1, 18 KOs) defends his WBA featherweight title against Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Initially Leo Santa Cruz was being matched up to face Mares, who holds the WBA “regular” title at 126-pounds, but Santa Cruz indicated that he wanted an interim-fight before the rematch takes place in early 2018.
Santa Cruz, who hasn’t fought since beating Frampton in January, wanted a decent fight to shake off the rust – but still views Avalos as a dangerous opponent. Chris Avalos (27-5, 20KO) fighting out of Lancaster, California will be looking to win his first World Championship bout after losing to Carl Frampton for the IBF Championship back in 2015 in Belfast.
Four time world champion Abner Mares defends his 126 pound championship against Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KO) who suffered his first loss last year against tough veteran Cristian Mijares. Gutierrez was due to fight Carl Frampton over in Belfast, earlier this year until he fell in his bathroom and broke his nose, lost two teeth and cut his chin.
If Santa Cruz and Mares win their respective matches, they have both agreed to terms to meet in a rematch for the WBA featherweight title fight early 2018. Speaking on a media teleconference on Wednesday to promote the Oct. 14 card, Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer said the Santa Cruz-Mares rematch is penciled in for sometime in March 2018. The first fight was a potential fight of the year candidate to win the vacant WBA (Super) Featherweight and vacant WBC Diamond Featherweight titles on August 29, 2015. There was 13,109 fans in attendance at the Staples Center. Judge Max Deluca had it a draw at 114-114 whilst judges Jesse Reyes and Steve Morrow scored it 117-111 for Santa Cruzby