Make that three in a row for Leo Santa Cruz…
The 26-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the reigning WBC World Super Bantamweight Champion, retained his belt with little trouble on Saturday night at the MGM Grand as he defeated Manuel Roman with a single right hand in the second round.
Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs), a former bantamweight titlist before vacating that belt to move up in weight, retained his title for the third time.
Roman (17-3-3, 6 KOs) used to be one of Santa Cruz’s sparring partners and was not qualified to be in a world title fight. He was boxing in his first scheduled 12-round fight, has had only two 10-rounders and has been mainly fighting six- and eight-round fights.
“I threw the right and caught him just like we practiced,” Santa Cruz said. “I worked hard in the gym to make it easy in the ring.”
Santa Cruz made Roman look like he didn’t belong in the ring with him, winning the first round with a steady diet of hard punches and then dusting Roman with a right hand to the chin in the second round. Roman went down on his back and referee Robert Byrd counted him out at 55 seconds.
“I got caught cold with a right,” said Roman. “He just caught me. What can I say.”
Santa Cruz said he wants to fight a top opponent next and called out unified 122-pound champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
“I did my job. That’s what I came for,” Santa Cruz said. “I’m not scared of anyone. I want Rigondeaux and I want my manager [Al Haymon] to make the fight to show I am the best.”