“Rancid” – Huge criticism as Leo Santa Cruz’s next opponent is revealed


Premier Boxing Champions rolls on and the Al Haymon-backed platform last night announced their 2019 Fox schedule.

A big deal with the broadcaster was signed back in September that will afford over $60million a year to fund fights as Haymon battles a competitive market that features veteran Bob Arum on ESPN and Eddie Hearn with DAZN.

Premier Boxing Champions, who also have dates on Showtime, last night announced 23 dates (10 of which have confirmed fights) including a pay-per-view clash between Mikey Garcia and Errol Spence.

One particular match-up, however, came in for criticism.

On Saturday February 16th Leo Santa Cruz will defend his WBA featherweight title versus Miguel Flores at a to-be-confirmed venue in Los Angeles. The fight co-headlines a bill which also features sluggers Omar Figueroa and John Molina.

It will be the former Frampton foe’s third defence of his belt since reclaiming the strap from ‘The Jackal’ in Las Vegas last year. However, especially considering that Flores was previously defeated by Santa Cruz’s first defence, Chris Avalos, most have not taken too kindly to the match-up.

The fight will be a first World Title contest for 26-year-old Flores [23(11)-2(2)] who has fought just once in 2018 – a second-stoppage win over journeyman Raul Chirino in a six-round fight.

In 2017, the Houston-based fighter fought and was beaten twice. There was the fifth-round retirement loss to Avalos due to cuts – a contest in which he was admittedly up on the cards in – as well as a sixth-round knockout loss to Vietnamese puncher Dat Nguyen, himself a formerly mooted underwhelming Santa Cruz opponent.

The Santa-Cruz match-up was widely described as the weakest fight on the PBC schedule and this disappointment seems to have been amplified due to previous speculation that the Mexican may fight in a unification with WBC champ Gary Russell Jr on the Deontay Wider v Tyson Fury card next month.

Boxing writers and media types slammed the match-up:

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]