By Miguel Rivera, Jose Luis Camarillo, notifight.com
Jhonny Gonzalez is looking to make a voluntary defense of his world featherweight title of the World Boxing Council (WBC) before granting a rematch to Abner Mares, who is recovering from a rib injury. The fight was originally scheduled for February 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Californias.
A new date for the rematch will be released once Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) is given medical clearance to resume training for a rematch with Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KOs), who dethroned Mares last August 24 by way of a first round knockout at the StubHub Center in Carson.
A date of March 15th was mentioned for the rematch, but Gonzalez says he was told Mares would not be ready in time. Therefore, Gonzalez wants to defend his title on a late March date in Mexico City.
"We are pursing the opportunity to make a voluntary defense here in Mexico in March, and then to grant Mares a rematch in May or June," Gonzalez said. "We want it to be here in Mexico City, but the promoters are looking to see if they can do it."
"My idea is to defend the championship three times this year and by year's end I'll move up to super featherweight to get my third world title against WBC world champion Takashi Miura of Japan.
Gonzalez's promoter, Oswaldo Kuchle, says no medical evidence has been presented by the team of Mares to prove his medical injury. He also rejected a proposal from Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez, to make an optional defense against undefeated contender Gary Russell Jr. on March 1.
"We told him we were not interested [in Russell. We were not allowed to have Jhonny make a defense against a different challenger in December. We were forced to go directly against Mares [in a rematch]. We were pressed and accepted February 15 because we didn't want to get into legal issues. Then we're told that Mares can't fight, but there has no medical examination. We would have thought that a physician would tell us when he would be ready, but now we're told he may not be ready to fight until May or June," Kuchle said.
"Eric Gomez called to warn that the fight would fall out [on February 15] and would possibly get moved over by one month. He said it was nothing serious, and now we are now discussing another opponent and looking at the rematch for the middle of the year. It almost seems to me [that Mares has] broken ribs."