Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens has suffered just one loss in his professional career, but it was a devastating one. It happened Aug. 24, when he lost his featherweight world title when he was knocked out in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico at StubHub Center in Carson.
Mares has not fought since, but he’ll lace up the gloves again when he takes on Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) in the featherweight semi-main event July 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view). Headlining will be former super welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico taking on Erislandy Lara of Cuba.
When Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) steps in the ring against Oquendo, it will have been nearly 11 months since he was demolished by Gonzalez. Mares claims he is ready to rumble.
“It’s been a long time, but I can’t wait to step into the ring and hear my name called again,” Mares, 28, said. “Jonathan Oquendo is a respectable fighter and I know he’s coming to win. But he is in the way of another world title, so I have to get him out of there.”
Although it’s been known for a week that the scheduled Feb. 15 rematch between featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico and Abner Mares at Staples Center has been postponed because of a rib injury suffered by Mares in training, Golden Boy Promotions made it official in news release in which Mares expressed how bummed out he was about it.
“I’d like to apologize to all of my fans, Golden Boy Promotions and Jhonny Gonzalez,” said Hawaiian Gardens’ Mares, who lost his title to Gonzalez when Gonzalez stunningly knocked him out in the first round in August at StubHub Center. “I was looking forward to getting back into the ring with Jhonny to avenge my loss.
“And once I recover from this injury, I’ll be back in the gym and ready for this rematch as soon as possible.”
No new date for the bout has been given and one won’t be until Mares has been cleared to train.
Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens sustained a rib injury during training for his rematch with Jhonny Gonzalez that was scheduled for Feb. 15 at Staples Center, postponing the bout, according to several reports
The two tangled Aug. 24 at StubHub Center for Mares’ featherweight world title, Gonzalez stunningly knocking out Mares in the first round and taking the belt.
No new date has been given.
It was quite a shocker when Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico knocked out Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens in the first round to take Mares’ featherweight title on Aug. 24 at StubHub Center. Now, Mares will get the chance to avenge that loss when he challenges Gonzalez for that title Feb. 15 at Staples Center (on Showtime).
Mares can’t wait.
“I’d like to thank Jhonny Gonzalez for this opportunity. It will be an honor to fight him a second time,” Mares said. “Aug. 24 was his night and I take nothing away from him, but Feb. 15 will be my night and I’m going to get my title back.”
Gonzalez doesn’t think so.
:”Abner Mares gave me my shot and now I’m giving him his,” he said. “I respect what he’s done in the ring and the heart he shows every time he fights, but I worked too hard for this to give it up now. I will keep my title on Feb. 15.”
Mares, 28, is 26-1-1 with 14 knockouts. Gonzalez, 32, is 55-8 with 47 knockouts.
Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens has become one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The Artesia High graduate has won titles in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions and Saturday will defend his featherweight belt against former featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico at StubHub Center (on Showtime).
At Thursday’s final news conference, Oscar De La Hoya spoke highly of this main event.
“For the boxing fans in L.A., this is what boxing is all about and this is what they deserve,” said De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “Abner Mares is a special talent that we are witnessing in our era. He’s a talent that doesn’t come around very often. He’s fought nothing but the best. We all know Gonzalez. He’s a machine who is a tough puncher and a very calculated puncher. Jhonny knows this is his opportunity. Everybody knows that.”
Mares, who recently bought a house in Downey, is 26-0-1 with 14 knockouts. Gonzalez is 54-8 with 46 knockouts. Gonzalez lost his belt to Daniel Ponce De Leon in September 2012. Mares in turn took it from De Leon in May in Las Vegas.
Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens has fought several times in the greater Southern California area at places like Staples Center, Club Nokia and Honda Center. But the Artesia High graduate never gets tired of toiling in his neck of the woods.
Mares (26-0-1, 14 KOs), who has won world titles in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions, on Aug. 24 will defend his featherweight belt against former champion Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico at StubHub Center (formerly Home Depot Center).
“I’m looking forward to fighting in front of my hometown fans on Aug. 24 at StubHub Center,” Mares said at a news conference Thursday. “Jhonny Gonzalez and I have a lot of respect for each other, but we know what’s at stake. I’m confident that we’re going to put on an explosive fight that fans will want to see.”
Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KOs) used to hold the title Mares now holds.
“The belt belongs to me,” Gonzalez said. “It’s time it returns to my waist. I will give it everything I’ve got on Aug. 24.”
The Golden Boy Promotions card will be televised by Showtime.
Tickets for the Aug. 24 featherweight title fight between champion Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens and Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico at StubHub Center (formerly Home Depot Center) will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. (PST).
Mares, 27, is quickly becoming one of the most dominant fighters in boxing. He has won titles in three weight classes – bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight – and has become a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. He is 26-0-1 with 14 knockouts.
Gonzalez, 31, is a former bantamweight and featherweight champion. He is 54-8 with 46 knockouts.
Their bout will be televised by Showtime.
Tickets are priced at $25, $50, $75 and $150. They can be purchased by calling 888-929-7849, going online at AXS.com or through the StubHub Center box office.
Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens is finally getting some recognition on respectable pound-for-pound lists. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, appreciates that. But Schaefer believes Mares should be in the top three, rather than in the bottom half of the top 10.
“In my opinion, there’s Floyd Mayweather, there’s Andre Ward and there’s Abner Mares,” Schaefer said. “That’s how, in my book, the ratings should be.”
Mares, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Southern California and attended Artesia High, has won titles in three weight classes – bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. Most recently, he took Daniel Ponce De Leon’s featherweight belt via 9th-round TKO on the May 4 undercard of the Mayweather-Robert Guerrero welterweight championship at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Schaefer said Mares (26-0-1, 14 KOs) is hopeful his next fight can take place in Mexico.