By Chris Robinson
Yet another fight week has hit Las Vegas and the boxing luminaries have been spotted in abundance.
During Wednesday’s press conference featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto’s parting words before battle, recently-crowned WBC junior featherweight champion Abner Mares took some time to speak on the latest with his career.
On April 21st, Mares overcame a spirited effort from former flyweight titlist Eric Morel in El Paso, Texas, pulling out a dominant twelve-round unanimous decision to became a champion in his second division. Morel wasn’t expected to be the stiffest of tests yet the Puerto Rican showed serious grit, something that Mares wasn’t too surprised by.
“I always expected a tough fight,” stated Mares. “I knew for that guy it was pretty much do or die. He trained really hard and you could see it in his physique. He was ready to go, do or die. He showed it, he gave me a hell of a fight.”
Mares enjoyed a memorable little run in the bantamweight division that saw him tangle with the likes of Yohnny Perez, Vic Darchinyan, and Joseph Agbeko, yet he feels it was the right time to make the move up north.
“Exactly. I’m young, I’m growing,” said Mares. “It’s getting hard to make 118 and it was the right thing to do. It only makes sense. There’s no one at 118 anymore. Everybody moved up to 122. It was a smart move for Team Mares. We’re in a great position now. We captured a title and now hopefully we get the big fights.”
No need to prod Mares for his thoughts on potential foes, as he is already eyeing the future.
“I got a list already,” Mares confirmed. “I got Nonito Donaire, he’s on the top of the list. I’ve got Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., ‘Travieso’ Arce. I’ve got Rafael Marquez. I’ve got Victor Terrazas. There’s a lot of guys and these guys that I just mentioned, they’re not an easy fight. All of them are hard fights but those are the fights I want to give the fans.”
I wouldn’t quite call it a feud, but there has been a little back and forthing taking place online between Mares and Donaire, the Fil-Am star who captured the WBO junior featherweight belt this past February with a split-decision over Vazquez Jr. Both sides have taken a few slight digs at the other, be it on video or through social media sites, yet Mares isn’t going to get carried away.
“I’m not going to take the time,” Mares claimed. “It really doesn’t bother me, because at the end of the day, if we end up fighting, we’ll do our talking inside the ring and that’s that. I’ve heard he’s a nice guy but I don’t know him personally. I know that just as much as I want to fight him, he wants to fight me, but at the end of the day it comes down to the promoters.”
Mares arrived in Las Vegas on Monday and has been enjoying every aspect of fight week in the city. But instead of putting his fixation on the Mayweather-Cotto duel, Mares seems to feel the Saul Alvarez-Shane Mosley co-feature will still the show.
The 40-year old Mosley hasn’t fought since his underwhelming points loss to Manny Pacquiao a year ago yet Mares seems to feel he will be able to rekindle some kind of fire as he readies for the challenge of Alvarez, the sport’s reigning WBC junior middleweight champion.
“His last fight, against Pacquiao, he didn’t get beat up or anything,” Mares said of Mosley. “Yes, he lost. He was running too much and he couldn’t pull the trigger, but he didn’t get beat up. He hasn’t been in a war where you could say that was the end of Mosley, so I think he still has a lot left. We all know that he’s really an athletic guy and he’s always working out and he’s always in shape. Definitely going to give 'Canelo' a run for his money.”
Some people were appalled at the fashion in which Alvarez collected his WBC crown, as he was given a bit of a soft touch in March of last year in the form of a fight for the vacant belt against the limited Matthew Hatton, who usually fights in the welterweight class. Giving his take on Alvarez’s slightly-paved road, Mares is quick to defend his fellow pugilist.
“It’s not our fault. It’s not the fighters fault,” Mares explained. “If they offer you the opportunity, what are you going to say, no? Like ‘No I’m not ready’ or ‘No , I don’t deserve it’. They offered him the opportunity, they’re building him up really good. His name is really big in Mexico and why not take advantage of it?”
Finishing up our interview, Mares revealed the kind of strategy he believes Cotto must use come Saturday night when he tries to take down the elusive Mayweather.
“Cotto’s just got to be on Mayweather,” Mares stated. “Like Ortiz, the Ortiz we saw towards the end of the fight. Ortiz pressuring him and having Floyd on the ropes. That’s where Cotto has to keep Mayweather.”