By Jake Donovan
You can count Abner Mares among those who have long grown fed up in the Cold War between top promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions.
The unbeaten super bantamweight added yet another big win to his resume, scoring a unanimous decision over Anselmo Moreno. Most believed the fight to be close, but the three ringside judges thought otherwise, awarding Mares the win by scores of 116-110 (twice) and a ridiculous 120-106.
Scoring aside, Mares has once proven his worth against a top fighter. The winner of the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament, Mares has now in the past 2 ½ years amassed a record of 5-0-1 against the likes of Yhonny Perez, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko (twice), Eric Morel and now Moreno, widely regarded as the best bantamweight in the world heading into the fight.
With this long awaited showdown now out of the way, Mares is now on the hunt for another top divisional fighter.
Leo Santa Cruz – a Golden Boy-promoted unbeaten bantamweight titlist – won big on the undercard, savagely beating down Victor Saleta en route to a 9th round knockout. When such a fight was suggested, Mares was not only dismissive but instead offered a name that – if the fight was made – would take a big swing at the wall that remains between two fiercely rival promoters.
“I want to fight Nonito Donaire,” Mares emphatically stated after Saturday’s win, which ran his record to 25-0-1 (13KO). “That’s the only guy to fight! I can’t take a step back. No disrespect to… what’s his name, Santa Cruz. He’s a great champion, he’s a great fighter. But we want to step it up and fight the best.”
Making such a fight would mean a compromise of sorts between Top Rank, who promotes Donaire, and Golden Boy Promotions, for whom Mares serves as their first-ever home-grown champion.
Donaire has enjoyed a monster year in 2012, scoring wins over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, Jeffrey Mathebula and Toshiaki Nishioka. The latter netted the Fil-Am star recognition as the lineal super bantamweight champion, but still has one more fight to go on the year. Waiting on deck is Jorge Arce in their highly anticipated showdown next month in Houston.
Providing that Donaire wins, it’s curious as to how things shake out in 2013. Both fighters just moved up to 122 lb. this year, with neither suggesting a defection to featherweight in the immediate future. The match-up is a no-brainer once politics are removed from the equation.
The problem – of course – is nothing but politics.
“I think it’s up to Nonito’s promotion to be willing,” Mares said of what it will take to make the fight happen. “Oscar (de la Hoya) said he’s willing to drive, walk to Vegas, knock on Bob Arum’s door and do whatever it takes to make that fight happen.
“Let’s hope Bob wants Nonito do to it. You guys know that I want the fight. Let’s pressure Bob Arum. Nonito, I want the fight.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox