Originally written on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 10/5/14

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 2: Winky Wright looks on against Ike Quartey after a middleweight fight at the St. Pete Times Forum on December 2, 2006 in Tampa, Florida. Wright won by unanimous decision. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

We're in for a rare televised quadrupleheader tonight on Showtime Championship Boxing. Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright are both in action later on the card, trying to beat back Father Time. It will be interesting to see how Wright, in particular, looks, as he has been inactive for roughly four years.

First up, it's Vusi Malinga and Leo Santa Cruz doing battle for the vacant IBF bantamweight title. Ever excitable Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein are on hand to call the action.

The tale of the tape shows that the two fighters are almost identical in height and reach. At 32, Malinga is nearly nine years older than Santa Cruz. Malinga is 20-3-1 with 12 KOs, while Santa Cruz is a early perfect 19-0-1 with 11 stoppages.

Jimmy Lennon Jr. does the figher introductions, and we are ready for a scheduled 12 rounds of action.


Round 1

Malinga takes the lead, but Santa Cruz is on target with overhand rights. Leo reaches the body too. No feeling out here as both men look willing to stand in front of each other and throw. Santa Cruz lands his right off the jab. Both men really active, but Santa Cruz is landing the sharper, more accurate shots. The ref tells the fighters to get their body shots up. Malinga lands his uppercut, but Santa Cruz comes right back with a left hook and some body shots. Hoks are traded along the ropes on the final seconds.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz


Round 2

Santa Cruz is able to keep Malinga at the end of his punches for a moment. Both men crash home hooks and uppercuts as Malinga gets closer. Santa Cruz doubles up with the left and goes to the body with the right. Leo's low shots really land with a thud. Right hand by Santa Cruz, and they trade again. Vicious hooks get exchaged and it's hard to keep up with all of these punches. They lean in close and go with hooks to the head and body. Santa Cruz slugs his way through with left hooks aplenty.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz


Round 3

Strong start for Leo as he finds the body and head quickly. Right to the body and left upstairs is wide open for him. Malinga is taking these punches well though. Santa Cruz keeps his guard high but unleashes the right hand. Malinga walks Santa Cruz into the corner, but he doesn't do too much with the opportunity. Leo hooks the right hand around his foe's guard twice in a row. Malinga tries to respond with short range uppercuts. More rights to the body and head by Santa Cruz.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz


Round 4

A little calmer opening until Leo finds the range with a right hand. He looks like he could win rounds by slugging or boxing if necessary. Malinga throws a combination in the corner, forcing Santa Cruz to pick up the pace. Double hooks to the body back up Malinga. Left to the body and head by Santa Cruz. He adds the right hand to keep his opponent honest. Malinga comes forward throwing but he's met by harder punches. Both men show off some body work in the final 10 seconds.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz


Round 5

Johnson mentions the old Teddy Atlas theory about body shots getting deposited and paying off later. A right hand by Santa Cruz snaps Malinga's head back. Malinga is still firing, he's just a bit slower and less powerful than the younger Santa Cruz. Left hook by Santa Cruz and he follows with a nice combo. Another exchange that ends with a right hand by Leo. Malinga's right hook lands, but he's losing the volume war for sure.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz


Round 6

Malinga looks a little busier, perhaps realizing he needs to make something happen. He's trying to walk through shots, but Santa Cruz is making that difficult. A four-punch barrage of straight punches keeps Malinga back. Left hook by Leo scores as well. One punch by Malinga is answered by three from Santa Cruz. Malinga whips off two uppercuts, and Santa Cruz goes back to the body. Santa Cruz goes to the head and body with right hands. Closer round, but I'm still not sure Malinga did enough to win it.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz


Round 7

One wonders if we'll just see more of the same for six more rounds. Santa Cruz opens to the body, then goes up with two nasty left hooks. Malinga isn't going anywhere, leaning in to try more uppercuts. The ref is warning them about low body shots again. Santa Cruz wins a battle of uppercuts. He lands about five punches in a row before covering up. Malinga takes a left hook to the body and a head shot that seem to wilt him a bit. Leo goes with those lefts to the body again and again.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Santa Cruz 

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