CARSON, Calif. — Jhonny Gonzalez stopped Abner Mares late in the first round Saturday night, reclaiming the WBC featherweight title in stunning fashion.
Leo Santa Cruz also won the WBC 122-pound title at the StubHub Center south of Hollywood, stopping Victor Terrazas in the third round.
Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KOs) dropped the previously unbeaten Mares twice late in the first round, flattening the 126-pound belt-holder with a left hook. Mares appeared to be hurt when he got back up, and the Mexican challenger knocked him down again with a combination along the ropes.
Referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight with 5 seconds left in the first round.
Gonzalez is known for his impressive knockout power, but the 31-year-old veteran from Mexico City also has been stopped three times in his up-and-down career.
Gonzalez held the WBC title for nearly 18 months before losing it to Daniel Ponce De Leon in a technical decision last September, and he was knocked down during one of his two previous victories this year.
Mares (26-1-1) held titles at 118 and 122 pounds before claiming the featherweight belt last May, stopping Ponce De Leon for his third world title belt. The popular Los Angeles-area fighter had sizable crowd support, but Gonzalez silenced his fans with two dramatic knockdowns.
Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KOs), the former IBF 118-pound champion from nearby Lincoln Heights, picked up another impressive victory with a swift stoppage of Terrazas.
After controlling the first two rounds, Santa Cruz knocked his opponent down twice in the third round with a left hook and a big right hand. Terrazas got up both times, but referee Lou Moret stepped in with 51 seconds left in the third.
Terrazas (37-3-1), whose face was swollen after the first two rounds, won the vacant WBC title with a split decision over Cristian Mijares in April.
Santa Cruz has knocked out four of his last five opponents. He could be the next opponent for Mares, since promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank refuse to work together for a much-discussed fight pitting Mares against 122-pound star Nonito Donaire.