Abner Mares Continues His Run of Taking Tough Fights

by Francisco Salazar

You would think Abner Mares has faced adversity to the highest degree in the ring over the last couple of years.

Actually it is true Mares has faced one tough hombre after another. Not only has he fought them, but he has won every fight since a majority decision draw to Yonnhy Perez over four years ago. Even in that fight, a majority of press thought Mares did enough to win.

Believe it or not, Mares has faced tougher challengers than Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, and Vic Darchinyan.

Only these challenges were outside of the ring. They were on the rough neighborhoods of the Los Angeles suburb of Hawaiian Gardens. It was having to come back from an eye injury that required surgery to continue his career.

So people would think that Mares is getting a “breather” of sorts when he steps inside the ring this Saturday night at the Stubhub (formerly Home Depot) Center in Carson, CA. He is fighting Jhonny Gonzalez, the hard-hitting Mexican who has won world title belts in two weight classes.

People could think that, but Mares is not one to buy in he is taking a break from fighting a murderer’s row of featherweights in the near or distant future.

“This is still going to be a tough fight for me,” said Mares.

The 12 round bout between Mares and Gonzalez will headline a Golden Boy Promotions card and will be televised, along with the Victor Terrazas-Leo Santa Cruz fight, live at 10:30PM ET/ 7:30 PM PT on Showtime.

And why should people think Mares is never in a tough fight? That is why fight fans are endeared to him and even his detractors respect him. It is what the boxing world has accustomed to seeing in Mares.

While Mares (26-0-1, 14 KOs) may be at the peak of his career (he will turn 28 in November) and may have a speed advantage in this fight, he is not underestimating Gonzalez whatsoever.

“I respect him for what he has done in the sport,” Mares told this past Saturday at the Elite MMA Academy in Santa Fe Springs, CA. “He’s been a two-time champion with over 60 fights. He has an impressive resume.”

Mares, who once sparred with Gonzalez back in 2006, seems to not mind facing punchers. In his last fight on May 4th in Las Vegas, Mares traded with hard-hitting Daniel Ponce De Leon before dropping him twice to earn the technical knockout victory.

While it was a risky, but effective plan, Mares believes that fighting the toughest fights does pay huge dividends, however much longer his career will last.

“This is what we as boxers should do,” said Mares, who represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. “We should fight those number one contenders. That’s normal to me. I don’t mind tough fight after tough fight.”

“I don’t want to leave this sport when I’m old. I want to still be young enough to leave the sport. That’s why I still learn a lot, especially in not getting hit a lot.”

It is hard not to root for a guy like Mares, someone who is proud of his Mexican roots, but grateful for the American dream he lives in today. While he has lifted championship gold over his head recently, it was not all that rosy for Mares.

The Guadalajara, Jalisco-born fighter faced financial hardships while growing up as a young boy after migrating to Southern California with his mother and siblings. Whether it was looking for expired package food in dumpsters behind supermarkets as a boy or seeing friends stabbed on the street, Mares was at risk of becoming another statistic of the streets swallowing up another young man.

A trip back to Guadalajara as a teenager and boxing gave Mares another chance at life, one that seen him succeed. However, Mares thinks success is not measured in belts, money, or accolades.

Instead, it is doing what is right and to be a positive role model for the youth, something that he never had while growing up.

“Success really isn’t about belts. It’s just giving it your all. Even if I retired with losses, as long as I fought the best out there and gave it my all, then that’s all that matters. I just want to be a good example for the youth because the youth is everything.”

“I had a tough childhood. I grew up too fast and there were times I was living by myself. Life gives you obstacles and you just have to go through them. I went from nothing to something. I don’t want to stop because I want to be a good example for my kids (2 daughters).”

Adversity does make people stronger mentally. In the case of Mares, what he has had to live through and the experiences in and out of the ring as a professional has made him the person he is.

And that is why people respect him. He may have detractors after his close win over Vic Darchinyan and his first victory over Joseph Agbeko, where Mares landed a number of punches below the belt.

Through it all (and a one-sided victory over Agbeko in the rematch months later), Mares continues to live out his journey that has seen him become one of boxing’s best. He has the victories and (and whether he does not like to admit it) the belts to prove it.

Mares expects the best Gonzalez to show up on Saturday night. Do we expect anything less from Mares?

“Gonzalez will be at his best Saturday. Maybe (Guillermo) Rigondeaux or Leo (Santa Cruz) are better than me. How you train says a lot about how you prepare for a fight.”

That and never settling for anything less.

Francisco A. Salazar has written since September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by lazarito52 on 08-22-2013

wy didnt you offered a fight to rigo ?you could have done the same you did to ducknaire, instead you left 122 where rigo is the king and run to 126 . i thought you wanted to avenge the defeat…

Comment by whoseyourdaddy on 08-22-2013

[QUOTE=4Corners;13671974]I'd say Gonzalez is a decent opponent.[/QUOTE] I say Gonzalez is a live dog:boxing:

Comment by bojangles1987 on 08-22-2013

[QUOTE=New England;13671973]what the F does that have to do with abner mares.? hate the refs, not he fighter, dude. mares throws the low blows. he does not call them. if you want something to dislike mares about, dislike him for…

Comment by 4Corners on 08-22-2013

I'd say Gonzalez is a decent opponent.

Comment by New England on 08-22-2013

[QUOTE=bojangles1987;13671774]If it wasn't for the blatant ref bias to this point in his career, I'd be a huge Mares fan. He has earned every bit of respect he gets, and maybe even more than he gets.[/QUOTE] what the F does…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (12)
Top Headlines Tino Avila Wants To Dominate Ramirez, Fight For Title in 2017 Molina: Look at My Wilder Fight, I'll Raise Hell Against Joshua! David Haye: In 2017 I Will Be Heavyweight Champion - I Know It! De La Hoya To Critics: I Strongly Feel Canelo-Golovkin Will Happen Taras Shelestyuk Aims To Follow Gold Path of His Olympic Mates Brandon Rios a Free Agent, No Longer a Top Rank Fighter Katie Taylor Mulling Pro Move, Heading To Eddie Hearn? Fenech: Mundine-Green II is Bullsh*t Fight - Must Be Stopped! Nonito Donaire: I Want The Frampton vs. Santa Cruz Winner Next! Jack Doesn’t Take Much From DeGale’s Tough Fight with Medina Joshua's Fight Will Land on Showtime - Price, Jennings or Molina Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia Could Air on CBS in Prime Time George Foreman: Joshua Could Be Become an All-Time Great Andy Lee Wants Tough Fight, Gennady Golovkin Showdown Carl Frampton: I'll Beat Leo Santa Cruz Even More Convincingly! Jack: DeGale is Very Tough, I’ll Win and Be Best at 168 Arthur Abraham Out Of Martin Murray Rematch In Monte Carlo Craig Cunningham Heading To 154 After Shocker Over Ogogo Photos: Juanma Grinds Hard For Wilfredo Vazquez Grudge Fight Denis Shafikov vs. Richard Commey Set, Heading To Russia Broner vs. Granados on Feb. 11, Thurman vs. Garcia on March 4 Badou Jack vs. James DeGale Unification Set For January 14 Hosea Burton vs. Frank Buglioni Lands on Anthony Joshua Card Claressa Shields Pro Debut Finalized For Kovalev vs. Ward PPV Payano Eyes December Return in Quest For Second Title Reign Jason Sosa Embraces Smith Defense, Eyes Three Fights in 2017 Arum Apologizes To King For Post-Presidential Debate Vegas Spat Felix Verdejo is Very Eager To Get His Hands on Terry Flanagan Bob Arum on The Possibility of Miguel Cotto vs. Timothy Bradley Abel Sanchez: Ponamarev Likely Back on Lomachenko vs. Walters Bryant Jennings Ready To Step In, Face Anthony Joshua on 12/10 Dereck Chisora: Dillian Whyte is Nothing - I Will Stop Him! Vernon Forrest - Third Man Has Been Convicted in His Murder Pacquiao Feels Brunt of Long Flight, Takes Off From Training Marquez: If Canelo Trades With Golovkin - He's Committing Suicide! Lucas Browne Finds Himself in Limbo After Klitschko's Injury Andre Ward Aims To Set The Record Straight With Sergey Kovalev Video: Joe Smith Jr. Very Pumped To Face Bernard Hopkins Haye Explains Why Anthony Joshua-Eric Molina is Next - Not Price Marrero vs. Zambrano Talks Progress As Purse Bid Looms

Latest Active Forum Threads