Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares ready for the Battle of Los Angeles 2
World Boxing Assn. featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz is set to take on Abner Mares in a rematch at Staples Center on June 9.
Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 knockouts) edged out a majority decision against Mares in 2015 in a bout that also took place at the Staples Center.
It's fitting that both fights will take place in Los Angeles as Mares, 32, was born in Mexico but raised in Hawaiian Gardens and now calls Montebello home.
Santa Cruz, 29, was also born in Mexico and was raised in Lincoln Heights.
The first victory over Mares would net Santa Cruz the vacant WBA (Super) featherweight and vacant WBC Diamond featherweight titles.
He would successfully defend that WBA title against Kiko Martinez at the Honda Center in Anaheim in 2016.
Santa Cruz would suffer his first defeat at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn in 2016 at the hands of undefeated Carl Frampton of Belfast in one of the best fights of the year.
Santa Cruz's father-trainer Jose Santa Cruz began his own battle during this time when he started treatment for spine cancer, a distraction that Santa Cruz acknowledged might have been a factor in his fight with Frampton.
Santa Cruz would avenge that defeat to Frampton in Las Vegas in Jan. 2017 with a majority decision and talks of a third bout between the two continue to this day.
Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) rebounded from that setback to Santa Cruz to claim the WBA (Regular) featherweight title with a split decision triumph over Jesus Cuellar at the Galen Center in 2016 and successfully defended that belt against Andres Gutierrez at the Stub Hub Center in Carson in October of last year.
Plenty of tantalizing match-ups await both Santa Cruz and Mares after their forthcoming war is completed with WBC featherweight Gary Russell Jr as a possible future opponent in a unification bout.
Russell's only loss was to current pound for pound kingpin Vasiliy Lomachenko, who could also be on a collision course with Santa Cruz if he were to elect to move up to super-featherweight.
Jermell Charlo will defend his WBC junior middleweight title against perennial contender Austin Trout in the co-main event.
Both fights will be televised live on June 9 from Staples Center on Showtime.