Competing in the squared circle appeared to be a thing of the past for Abner Mares. Following a fairly invasive surgery to repair a detached retina in 2018, the likelihood of the California resident returning to the ring was slim to none. However, as his desire to perform underneath the bright lights intensified, Mares impetuously dusted off his pugilistic gloves and made his return.

In his first ring appearance in over four years, Mares (31-3-2, 15 KOs) performed well, registering a split decision draw against Miguel Flores earlier this year. Nevertheless, despite his well-chronicled achievements and countless world title reigns, Mares admits that he’s both unsatisfied and unwilling to end his career on a whimper.

“I’m not happy with ending my career with a draw,” said Mares to “If I did as good as I did in this last fight, and I stay in the gym and I fight again, hopefully soon, I’m only going to get better.”

With the 2022 fight calendar coming to a close, Mares eyes a return to action during the first half of 2023. Though he understands the business side of boxing, Mares licks his lips as he begins contemplating who his next foe could be. If the decision were solely up to him, Mares would refrain from facing any lesser-known fighters. Instead, if given the opportunity, former two-division world champion, Oscar Valdez, would be given the call.

“I think Oscar Valdez, I like Oscar Valdez for a big fight. He’s a big name, Mexican as well, it would be great. He brings in the power and he brings in the name.”

After having his WBC 130-pound crown ripped away from him at the hands of Shakur Stevenson, Valdez, 31, is attempting to get back in the win column. Nevertheless, with both fighters aligned on opposite sides of the promotional street, a showdown between them seems unlikely.

In any event, the 36-year-old former champion considers a matchup against Valdez as nothing more than wishful thinking. Although the Mexican star has aggregated numerous world titles throughout his career, bearing in mind his age and somewhat eroding skills, Mares is more interested in taking things slowly as opposed to going full speed ahead.

“I’m not trying to become a world champion once again. I’m just trying to get it out of my system. I’m getting my feet wet once again. I’m not calling anyone out at the 135-pound division.”