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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Abner Mares looking to get healthy and get rematch with Jhonny Gonzalez

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.

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Abner Mares sustains rib injury, rematch with Jhonny Gonzalez postponed

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.

 

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Abner Mares will get another shot at Jhonny Gonzalez on Feb. 15 at Staples Center

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.

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Oscar De La Hoya raves about Saturday’s main event at StubHub Center

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.

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Three-division champion Abner Mares still embraces fighting near home

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.

 

 

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Tickets for Abner Mares-Jhonny Gonzalez at StubHub Center go on sale Saturday

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.

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