Leo Santa Cruz remains IBF bantamweight champion
Leo Santa Cruz was below his best but retained his IBF bantamweight title in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Last Updated: 16/12/12 12:19pm
The heavy-handed Mexican had won 11 of his last 12 fights inside the distance but the previously unbeaten Alberto Guevara took his best shots in his first title fight.
However, after slow start Santa Cruz came on strongly in the latter rounds but admitted this, his fifth fight of the year, may have left him stale.
"I'm sorry I didn't do like I do. I'm sorry I didn't give you a good show," Santa Cruz told spectators after the bout. "But next time I will come back and give you what you want. I didn't feel like me."
The fight began to turn in the fifth round as Santa Cruz stepped up the pace, opening a cut by the right eye of Guevara while a hook to the body two rounds later appeared to take a lot out of the challenger.
The performance will be dissected by Britain's Jamie McDonnell, who is ranked number one challenger by the IBF.
On the same bill at the Sports Arena, heavyweight hope Deontay Wilder made it 26 knockouts in as many fights when he stopped the formerly undefeated Kelvin Price in the third round.
The 'Bronze Bomber' landed halted matters with a thudding right hand as the former Olympic bronze medallist edges his way towards a world title shot.
Light-middleweight prospect Alfredo Angulo (22-2) got 10 rounds under his belt as he continued his comeback with a points victory over Jorge Silva.