As predicted, Santa Cruz-Martinez was a showcase for Santa Cruz, for Martinez brought to the table the same approach used by Abner Mares against Santa Cruz – only Martinez lacked the speed of Mares. The referee stopped the fight at 2:09 into the round due to answered punches being absorbed by Martinez while he was against the ropes.
Skill went to the wayside in this one. The faster, longer Santa Cruz charitably gave better than what he received from a shopworn Martinez.
Martinez was almost knocked out in round one. Down twice from right hands, it seemed as if he would be unable to defend himself from an unrelenting Santa Cruz. It was Martinez who made the fight. Santa Cruz fought to survive through high volume against an easy target in Martinez. Martinez's head bounced in all directions from jabs, straight right hands, left hooks, and uppercuts from Santa Cruz. It was savage.
From round two onwards, Martinez forced Santa Cruz backwards for whole rounds. Cruz, for his part, began squaring himself up and waiting for Martinez to come in. For unknown reasons, Santa Cruz switched to southpaw for five to ten seconds in the third round before reverting back to orthodox.
Martinez did what he wanted; he controlled the fight. However, his lack of head movement, speed, and wide punches ensured that Santa Cruz would wear him down. Visibly hurt in round five with one minute left, Cruz tactfully threw punches non-stop, most not landing cleanly, but creating the impression that Martinez was helpless against the ropes.
Had Santa Cruz decided to box, it would have gone twelve rounds, as was the case when he fought Mares. However, feeling that he could best Martinez in exchanges, he decided to brawl his way to victory to entertain the crowd.
Cruz has formally expressed his desire for a unification against Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz improves to 32-0-1, 18 KO.