Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns anticipate Thurman-Porter showdown

Sugar Ray Leonard (L) in action vs Thomas Hearns during fight at Sports Pavilion of Caesars Palace. Neil Leifer
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Thomas Hearns, right, throws a body punch at Sugar Ray Leonard during their September 1981 fight in Las Vegas/File photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns were in a few big fights of their own. The first of two they had against one another – in September 1981 outdoors at Caesars Palace – was a classic as Leonard came from behind to stop Hearns in the 14th round of their welterweight title fight.

This Saturday’s welterweight title fight between champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS) isn’t as anticipated as Leonard-Hearns, but Leonard and Hearns themselves can’t wait to see it.

“Just the heart of Keith and Shawn,” Leonard said, when asked what excites him most about this fight. “Both of these guys have heart and both have that will. That composure. You can’t teach composure. It’s something that you either have or you don’t. You can’t learn that. That deep, deep composure when your left eye is closed and your liver is busted and you got to get up (off) the canvas.”

Hearns intimated it could be an early exit for someone.

“I know Thurman and Porter have the ability to get each other out of there,” he said. “It’s going to be a matter of who gets to who first. I’m definitely watching. I hope to be there in person.”

Thurman, 27, is 26-0 with 22 knockouts. Porter, 27, is 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts.

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Keith Thurman recovered from his whiplash in a careful manner

Keith Thurman
Keith Thurman/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Keith “One Time” Thurman was supposed to defend his welterweight title against Shawn Porter on March 12, but Thurman was involved in a car accident that apparently was caused when Thurman’s new car began to hydroplane in wet conditions in his native Clearwater, Fla.
Thurman is healthy again, but he had to go about his rehabilitation for the whiplash he sustained in a careful manner.
“It’s six weeks before I could go back to the gym,” said Thurman, who will tangle with Porter on June 25 in the main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS). “And then, we just had to take it (in) increments as far as recovering, as far as working hard.
“Didn’t want to push my body too hard right away. Didn’t want to re-aggravate anything. Just listened to my doctors, stay doing my regular checkup routines. And we’re good to go.”
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Medical condition will prevent Abner Mares from fighting Jesus Cuellar

Abner Mares

Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens was really looking forward to his challenge to featherweight world champion Jesus Cuellar of Argentina. They were to tangle June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the undercard of the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter welterweight title fight (on CBS).

However, the bout was canceled Friday because Mares has an unspecified medical condition that will prevent him from fighting in the state of New York. DiBella Entertainment is the promoter for the Premier Boxing Champions presentation and it sent out a statement informing the media of the situation, while also making sure we knew that this medical condition is not life-threatening, nor does it have anything to do with performance-enhancing drugs.

The main event between Thurman and Porter will go on as scheduled and the Mares-Cuellar TV spot will be taken by another fight.

Mares has won titles in three weight classes.

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As usual, Abner Mares about to take on another top opponent – Jesus Cuellar

Abner Mares

Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Abner Mares has always been that fighter you want to see do well. He is never looking to fight a patsy. He wants to tangle with only the meanest hombres. It’s his credo.

“Definitely, definitely,” said Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens. “It will grab people’s attention and that’s the key point I want to make. I’m the type of fighter that wants to leave his career known as the fighter that never took an easy route and faced the tough fighters at their moment, at their times. And God willing, always came out on top.

“It’s not always going to be the same as my last fight. It was a great fight, a fight against Leo that I didn’t win, but I got the respect from people.”

Mares has a tough list of opponents adorning his ring record. In his most recent start, he lost a grueling 12-round decision to fellow Angeleno Leo Santa Cruz in a battle for a vacant featherweight title in August at Staples Center.

Mares, who has won titles in three weight classes, dusted himself off and has for the past several weeks been preparing himself for yet another top-line fighter by the name of Jesus Cuellar of Argentina. Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) on June 25 will challenge Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) for his featherweight world title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS, 6 p.m. Pacific time).

This is a crossroads fight for Mares. At 30, he is getting to that age when a fighter in the lighter weights begins to show the wear and tear of many ring wars. Even though he distinguished himself respectfully enough against Santa Cruz, Mares changed trainers, going from Clemente Medina to Robert Garcia.

Mares wants to know what he has left, and apparently he believes the best way to find out is to take on champions.

“Well, definitely what I want to prove to myself is that I still belong in this level type of fight against top fighters such as Cuellar, Leo or any other top-flight featherweight,” Mares said.

“And I think the reason that, my two defeats, when you just go through them real quick, first-round knockout against Jhonny Gonzalez (in August 2013). It was just, he caught me cold.

“My fight against Leo Santa Cruz, it was a tough fight. We went 12 rounds, it was a candidate for Fight of the Year, where I gave it my all but at the end of the day, I think I fought the wrong game plan. I think I defeated myself by not following instructions and not fighting a perfect plan.”

Mares, an Artesia High graduate, is certain he still has the goods.

“I’ve got a lot more to give, I’m going to show (it),” he said. “Now with my new trainer and the new mindset that I have, I think I’m going to prove just that.”

But again, Mares is trying to prove he’s still elite against a hard-hitting southpaw world champion whose only loss came nearly five years ago. Cuellar spoke like this could quickly turn into a toe-to-toe slugfest, so he must have something up his sleeve.

“We’re going to come out,” Cuellar said. “We’ve been training for this fight and we’re doing it on our strategies. We’ve been working on them. For this fight, if the opportunity presents itself, we’re going to take the fight to him.”

 

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Staying true to his credo, Abner Mares in for a tough fight with Jesus Cuellar

Abner Mares

Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens has lost only two fights during what has been a fine career that has seen him win world titles in three weight classes. Those two losses – to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz – have come in his past five fights. Mares lost a majority decision to Santa Cruz this past August in a battle for a vacant featherweight world title.

That doesn’t mean Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) wants a soft touch so he can get back into the win column. One look at Mares’ ring record and one knows that’s not Mares. It’s therefore no surprise that Mares will next be challenging Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) of Argentina for his featherweight title June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS).

Mares only wants the hard fights.

“Definitely, definitely,” said Mares, 30. “It will grab people’s attention and that’s the key point I want to make. I’m the type of fighter that wants to leave his career known as the fighter that never took an easy route and faced the tough fighters at their moment, at their times. And God willing, always came out on top. It’s not always going to be the same as my last fight. It was a great fight, a fight against Leo that I didn’t win, but I got the respect from people.”

Mares and Cuellar will tangle underneath the welterweight title fight between Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter.

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Shawn Porter has a plan, but can he execute it against Keith Thurman?

Shawn Porter

Shawn Porter/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Shawn Porter has a plan. Executing it against the likes of Keith “One Time” Thurman won’t be easy, though. The two will square off June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for Thurman’s welterweight world title (on CBS).

“I want to win each and every round,” said Porter, a former champion. “We want to make him have to adjust to what we’re doing. If we control the fight, we win the fight.

“I’ve always been taught to control everything in a fight. I can’t allow him to slow the tempo down. But I’m definitely not going to rush. I have the skills to execute the game plan.”

Porter believes his work in the gym will help him get what would be the biggest victory of his career.

“I think the difference is in my preparation,” Porter said. “I have a great team to match my great skills. We’re going to shock the world.”

Porter won a welterweight world title with a unanimous decision over Devon Alexander in December 2013. Porter made one successful defense before losing his belt to Kell Brook via majority decision in August 2014.

Porter, 28, is from Akron, Ohio. He is 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts.

Thurman, 27, is from Clearwater, Fla. He is 26-0 with 22 knockouts.

 

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CBS special ‘Mayweather’ on Saturday

A one-hour special entitled “Mayweather” will be televised Saturday at 8 p.m. on CBS. It will explore the life of Floyd Mayweather Jr. as well as that of Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.

Guerrero on May 4 will challenge Mayweather for his welterweight championship at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will be televised on Showtime pay-per-view; CBS is the parent company of Showtime.

The narrator for “Mayweather” will be rapper/actor LL Cool J, who will also perform his new single, “We’re the Greatest,” on the special.

Guerrero, 30, is 31-1-1 with 18 knockouts. Mayweather, 36, is 43-0 with 26 knockouts. Their fight is being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Mayweather Promotions.

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