The Championship Committee of the World Boxing Association (WBA) has ordered their featherweight world champions Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, to negotiate a deal as soon a possible, and reach a deal on or before November 6.
Santa Cruz holds the WBA's "super" title at the weight, while Mares is the "regular" champion at 126-pounds. The sanctioning body wants to eliminate the problem of having multiple world champions in each division. Both boxers had been scheduled to fight on April 3.
According to WBA Rule C.13, a champion cannot fight with a boxer who is not a mandatory designated contender within 60 days of his mandatory defense expiration date. The Committee gave them the timeframe from April 3rd to May 3rd to negotiate this matter; however, on July 4 they still did not have an answer.
On August 22, Santa Cruz and Mares requested special permits to make voluntary defenses, and their request was granted. Therefore, on October 14 they faced Chris Avalos and Andres Gutierrez, respectively, in a doubleheader televised on FOX.
Mares secured a technical decision win against Gutierrez, and Santa Cruz picked up a TKO victory over Avalos.
With this stage completed, the Committee has granted 15 days -until November 6 - to negotiate their bout. Santa Cruz and Mares are mandated to send details - like the date and location within the relevant timeframe. If they fail to do so, it would force the WBA to issue a call for purse bid.
The boxers first met back in August of 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) won a twelve round majority decision over Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) in a very exciting fight.
Their paths then separated where Santa Cruz had two memorable bouts with Carl Frampton. He gained revenge over Frampton with a close points win in January, after losing a close decision to the Belfast fighter last year in Brooklyn, New York.