Abner Mares/Associated Press photo by Isaac Brekken
Abner Mares wants to again be a world champion in the worst way. Mares, who has won titles in three weight classes, parted ways with longtime trainer Clemente Medina and hired the more famous Robert Garcia to help fuel that endeavor.
That was 10 months ago. In the opinion of Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs), that makes this trainer change different than most. That was evident when he was asked Monday during a conference call to explain how he might have changed under Garcia.
“I know once you get a new coach they tend to get a fight right away, and they tend to fight the next six to eight weeks, and you don’t see much of a difference,” said Mares, who Dec. 10 will challenge Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs)
of Argentina for his featherweight title at Galen Center (on Showtime). “Why? Because you only have that small period of time to train and get to know each other. And I just mentioned a whole year with Robert and not only a whole year with Robert, a whole year of getting ready for this fight against a southpaw.
“And you guys know what type of coach Robert is. Not only does he bring education to your boxing skills, but also that motivation. It’s always good to have that motivation, knowing that you have one of the best in your corner. So, you will see a different Abner and I think the best way to answer your question is you will just see a more mature fighter in me.”
Mares has not fought since losing a majority decision to Leo Santa Cruz in a fight for a vacant featherweight title on Aug. 29, 2015.
Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Dave Mandel, Showtime
Abner Mares has always said he likes taking on the best fighters. Even after he lost his featherweight world title when he was knocked out in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez in August 2013, that credo did not change as in his most recent fight – August 2015 – Mares tangled with featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz won a decision, but Mares distinguished himself well enough.
Mares will be back Dec. 10 when he challenges another featherweight champion – Jesus Cuellar – for his belt at USC’s Galen Center (on Showtime). If Mares manages to emerge victorious, he knows what he’ll then want.
“I want the winner of the (Carl) Frampton vs. Santa Cruz rematch,” Mares said Thursday at a Los Angeles news conference. “I want to continue to fight the best.”
Santa Cruz lost his featherweight championship to Frampton via decision July 30 in Brooklyn. They will fight a rematch Jan. 28 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime).
Mares parted ways with his trainer – Clemente Medina – this past January and hired well-known Robert Garcia, who trains boxers out of his gym in Oxnard.
“I’ve been working with Abner almost this whole year,” Garcia said. “… We’ve been working side-by-side and we’ve had a lot of time to learn about each other.”
Mares has won world titles in three weight classes. But he hasn’t held a title in over three years. Garcia is just the trainer to help Mares get back in the championship saddle.