Abner Mares spent quite some time pining for a fight with fellow super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire. Thanks to an absurd feud between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Inc. – promoters for Mares and Donaire, respectively – that fight never happened. Donaire ended up taking on another Top Rank super bantamweight champion – Guillermo Rigondeaux – last month and was defeated.
Mares relinquished his belt, moved up to featherweight and Saturday – in his first fight at 126 pounds – he will challenge Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico for his title on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view).
“I think everything happens for a reason,” said Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens. “Everything’s fell into place and I think it was meant to be. Thank God, I thank Golden Boy and everybody in my whole team for making this possible to give me an opportunity to fight for another world title with the opportunity of becoming three-time world champion. I’m excited for this weekend.”
Making this story even more cool, Mares said he had no idea he was going to get to challenge De Leon in his first featherweight bout. He said he made the move up in weight and the fight came along. Even more interesting, both Mares and De Leon are managed by Frank Espinoza of West Covina.
Mares, 27, is 25-0-1 with 13 knockouts. De Leon, 32, is 44-4 with 35 knockouts.