By Francisco Salazar
Even in the last couple of years and one weight class below what they currently fighting at, Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire were destined to fight one another. That is according to media and fight fans alike.
Nothing has changed as 2012 comes to a close. Fight fans and media alike are still hoping that one day Mares and Donaire will exchange leather against one another.
But as all fight fans know and to the chagrin of the media as well, that will not happen anytime soon as Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank give each other the cold shoulder. Golden Boy promotes Mares, while Top Rank promotes Donaire.
While Mares admitted that Donaire is the fighter whom he would like to face, the unbeaten Mexican does pride himself to face the top fighters in the lower weight classes.
That will be the case as Mares faces former bantamweight world title holder Anselmo Moreno in a 12 round bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night. Mares will make the first defense of his world title belt he won against Eric Morel on April 21st.
The bout will headline a Golden Boy Promotions card that will be televised on Showtime.
While many in boxing continue to push for a potential Mares-Donaire fight, Mares does not seem to be holding his breath. Instead, he prides himself for preparing for battle against the slick southpaw from Panama.
Mares is confident that his skills and his history of facing some of the top boxers while he was a bantamweight will be too much for Moreno.
“He hasn't fought me or hasn't fought my style,” said Mares during a recent teleconference. “I like to figure out the opponent once we get in the ring, but I think with Anselmo it's just a matter of getting him out of his game plan and making it a really uncomfortable fight for him.”
Not to say that it will be a piece of cake for Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs), who grew up on the gritty streets of Hawaiian Gardens, located just outside of Los Angeles.
However, Mares built his record in recent years by defeating superior talent in Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko (twice), and fighting to a majority draw against Yonnhy Perez.
“Everybody's good in their own style and Anselmo Moreno brings in a different style,” said Mares, who is managed by Frank Espinoza. It’s a unique style you could say, a great style that works for him. He's obviously a really defensive fighter, smart fighter type of a fighter.”
Will an impressive victory over Moreno guarantee Mares that elusive fight against the “Filipino Flash?”
Will Mares press so much to impress fight fans on Saturday night that it could play into the hands of Moreno?
While Mares has been very vocal about facing Donaire, he is not overlooking Moreno on Saturday night.
“Whatever it is, whatever he brings, we have to counter attack that. I know he's a boxer in that ring that night. It looks like he's going to be the boxer that night. He's going to be the technical fighter, but who knows. It might be me. So expect anything from Abner and it'll be a great fight.”
Should Mares come out victorious over Moreno, and should Donaire defeat Jorge Arce on December 15th in Houston, look for fight fans to clamor more for those two fighters to face one another. Stylistically, the fight should bring about action from the two boxer-punchers.
That would suit Mares just fine. Especially after Donaire has faced opponents who were deemed to “not through enough punches” in recent fights.
“Nonito is a great fighter. He's really, really explosive. A really great fighter. His last performance against Nishioka was a little bit boring at the beginning, but being that Nishioka wasn't throwing that much, he wasn't giving that much, but Nonito found a way and took his time and got that knockout.”
What would Mares do should he finally find himself across the ring from Donaire?
“If I were to fight him, obviously I'd fight him different and it would be a great fight. I know and I've seen that people want that fight. They've been asking for that fight and they know that I could give them a hell of a fight and definitely beat him as well. But again, that's in the future, first things first.”
Yes, first things first. Especially against the pedigree of a fighter like Moreno.
It will not be easy against the Panamanian fighter tonight. Then again, Mares would not want it any other way. A victory over the talented Moreno would reignite calls for Mares and Donaire to fight one another.
Mares and Donaire could be the fight that would be destined for greatness and decide who will reign supreme at 122 pounds. However, do not look for destiny to bring that fight together anytime soon as Golden Boy and Top Rank refuse to do business with one another.
And that would be a real shame, especially for the sport of boxing and fight fans. However, Mares-Moreno would just have to do.