By Jake Donovan
Abner Mares and Eric Morel both met the contracted terms of their 120 lb. catchweight bout during Friday's weigh-in. Mares weighed in at 119.6 lb, while Morel came in at 120 lb. even.
Their bout headlines Saturday's show in El Paso, Texas. Showtime televises live (9:30PM ET/PT).
Mares (23-0-1, 13KO) vacated the bantamweight belt he won last year and subsequently defended in his two fights with Joseph King Kong Agbeko. Their August bout netted Mares the title, making him the first fighter to go from pro debut to major championship while exclusively under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.
The Los Angeles-based company signed Mares shortly after the 2004 Summer Olympics, having fought for Mexico’s boxing squad.
Struggles to continue to make the bantamweight weight prompted Mares to eye the super bantamweight borders. Reluctance from US networks to air his ordered mandatory defense against Vusi Malinga made the decision a no-brainer for Mares, who vacated his belt.
Mares’ first fight one division north will be for a vacant belt, though fought at a catchweight at the request of his opponent.
Morel (46-2, 23KO) enters the fight riding an 11-fight win streak. The 1996 U.S. Olympic boxer and former flyweight champ began his winning ways once returning to the ring in 2008, following a two-year prison stint for sexual assault of a minor.
Each of Morel’s two losses have come at the championship level. His flyweight title reign ran three years before dropping a decision in his native Puerto Rico to Lorenzo Parra in December 2003. An ill-advised attempt at a 115 lb. title resulted in a decisive points loss to Martin Castillo in March ’05.
In the televised co-feature, Anselmo Moreno makes the 10th – and possibly final – defense of his bantamweight title against fringe contender David de la Mora.
Both fighters came in at 117.5 lb, slightly under the bantamweight limit.
Moreno (32-1-1, 11KO) enjoyed a successful stateside debut last December, soundly outpointing former two-division champ Vic Darchinyan. The bout also served as the first Showtime-televised appearance for the slick boxer from Panama, who for the second time in as many fights appears on the same card as Mares.
Talks surfaced of a possible head-on collision, though have yet to materialize. There remains hope in the near future, as Moreno has hinted that Saturday could mark his final fight at bantamweight.
Still in front of him is a determined challenger in de la Mora (24-1, 17KO). The squat Tijuana slugger boasts a relatively thin resume, but proved his worth at the championship level with a respectable showing in a competitive points loss to Koki Kameda last August in Japan.
As has become customary for the American cable giant, Showtime will air select bouts from the undercard live on its Showtime Extreme network. Coverage begins at 7:00pm, featuring unbeaten lightweight prospect Luis Ramos and former title challenger Librado Andrade.
Abner Mares, 119,6 lb. v. Eric Morel 120 lb. - 12 rds, 120 lb. catchweight
Anselmo Moreno, 117.5 lb. v. David de la Mora, 117.5 lb. - 12 rds, bantamweight
Luis Ramos, 135 lb. v. Daniel Attah, 133 lb. - 10 rds, lightweight
Librado Andrade v. Rowland Bryant - 10 rds, super middleweight
Francisco Vargas v. Rafael Lora - 8 rds, super featherweight
Antonio Escalante v. Francisco Camacho - 8 rds, super featherweight
Chris Pearson v. Jose Martell - 4 rds, super welterweight
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]