Two division world champion Abner Mares had a tremendous 2012 which was capped off with a thrilling win over highly regarded challenger Anselmo Moreno.
The city of Hawaiian Gardens celebrated the win on Sunday with a party in his honor.
At the event was his stablemate Oscar Valdez along with members of the community who shared the special day with Mares. We caught up with him as he posed for the camera with well wishers:
How did it feel to be honored by the city of Hawaiian Gardens?
It was a beautiful feeling. I never imagined this would ever happen. This is where I grew up and to have the city celebrate me this way for a third time is just a wonderful feeling.
What was it like to defeat Anselmo Moreno and silence some of your critics?
It was a very important win. Many people thought he had the style to beat me and that he was untouchable. This win means a lot to me because he was regarded as a very high level fighter.
You've come a long way in the last couple years. Are you surprised how quickly your career has moved forward?
I am. My career was pretty much over with after I had my eye problem. And then to bounce back and have the career I've had so far? I consider it a big accomplishment and that's why I want to keep fighting the best so it keeps moving forward.
You've had six fights in a row against five world champions or former champions. That has to be one of the toughest lineups in boxing.
It's been tough and I don't know many fighters who've been getting matched up as tough as me. But I want to continue fighting and beating the best because that's what makes a fighter the best.
You've been asking for the Nonito Donaire fight. Do you think it can be made or are you so frustrated with the whole situation that you'd rather not think about it anymore?
I was at the stage where I was just frustrated. Now I'm seeing more movement on both sides. Now we've seen Oscar and Richard Schaefer talk about the possibility. Bob Arum has said it's a fight that has to be made. I'm just hoping and praying it happens. I'm just waiting to get that phone call from my manager Frank (Espinoza) saying the fight's been made. There's no frustration going on. It's more excitement at this point.
If the fight gets made, it could re-start the trend of Golden Boy and Top Rank working together.
It's a very important fight in many ways. On one hand, it's a fight the public wants to see. On the other hand, it's a fight that could save boxing and bring it back to where it was. When fighters could face each other regardless of what promotional company they're with. It's a fight that could end the dispute between these two great promotional companies. This could be the beginning of big fights being made and for boxing to be back in a big time. Let's find a way to make it happen.
Your promoter Oscar de la Hoya tweeted "te ganaste el mundo" "you won the world" after you defeated Moreno. What do you think he meant by that?
The same thing a lot of people were thinking that night. Abner beat a guy that was supposed to be too fast and too slick for him. Someone that was considered untouchable in the ring. So the world got to see that anything is possible in this sport. That I can fight and defeat any style. The world got to witness my victory and I made believers out of them.
It's almost thanksgiving. What are some of the things you're most grateful for?
I'm grateful for life, health, my family and friends. Those are the things which are most important to me.
What would you like to happen in 2013?
Being that my birthday is coming up on November 28 and Christmas is soon after, I want the fight against Nonito Donaire. I really feel I deserve it at this point. I feel I'm the best in my division. I've fought all the top fighters. I'll fight whoever it takes to prove I'm the best. Does Nonito want the fight as much as I do?
What message would you like to give the fans?
Boxing is here to stay and Abner Mares is calling for the best fights to be made. I just want to thank the fans, send them many blessings and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays.