By Jake Donovan
It’s tough for fans to complain about Abner Mares not facing top competition. His next fight – a November 10 Showtime-televised showdown with Anselmo Moreno at the Staples Center in Los Angeles – will mark his sixth straight against world class opposition.
Even in boasting a strong resume over the past 2½ years, Mares still lacks a truly blockbuster fight. His upcoming super bantamweight title defense against Moreno is one to be appreciated on the sport’s cult level, but even a win will most likely look better in retrospect than it will for his star power.
One fight that would’ve gone a long way towards making him a household name is a showdown with top-rated super bantamweight Nonito Donaire. The matchup has been discussed as far back as last year, when they were the two highest rated bantamweights in the world. The talks have continued, but have never progressed beyond that, much to the chagrin of Mares.
“I was hoping for that to be my next fight after Eric Morel, but that obviously didn’t happen,” Mares (24-0-1, 13KO) admits. “It’s an exciting fight that fans are asking for. Hands down, I would take the Nonito fight. But this (Moreno) is the fight I have in front of me. We hope to have that fight (soon).”
Mares is coming off of a 12-round win over Morel in April to capture his second title in as many weight classes. The unbeaten Californian became Golden Boy Promotion’s first-ever home-grown champion one year prior when he defeated Joseph Agbeko in a bout that netted him a bantamweight belt as well as the grand prize in the Showtime Bantamweight tournament.
As proud of a moment as it was for Golden Boy Promotion, the absence of Donaire – among others – was a reminder of the road blocks present when it comes to making the best fights, particularly in the lower weight classes. Donaire is promoted by Top Rank, who is embroiled in boxing’s version of the Cold War with Golden Boy.
Mares and Donaire have both managed to carve out stellar careers for themselves, with plenty more to be achieved especially with wins in their next respective fights. Mares has a difficult challenge in Moreno, an awkward southpaw who hasn’t lost in over a decade. Donaire goes up against four-division champion and potential future Hall-of-Fame fighter Jorge Arce next month in Houston.
Even with big wins by each, all that will come in the aftermath is more comparisons and debates and less progress towards making a head-on collision a reality.
“It’s really frustrating for me,” Mares lets it known. “As a fighter I want to get the big fights against big names and they don’t happen. But I have to keep going forward and I can’t sit around and wait.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox