Abner Mares: No Secret, I Wanted Leo Santa Cruz Right Away!

By Keith Idec

This isn’t what Abner Mares wanted, but he understands that Leo Santa Cruz is the ‘A’ side in their business equation.

Mares would’ve preferred to fight Santa Cruz again October 7 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the option that they had long discussed. Santa Cruz feels he needs to shed some ring rust, though, which is why Mares and Santa Cruz will face separate opponents on October 14 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) is set to defend his WBA super world featherweight championship against Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) that night in a scheduled 12-round main event FOX will air on free TV. In FOX’s co-featured fight, Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) will make the first defense of his WBA world featherweight title against Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs).

santa-cruz-avalos-mares (3)

“I wanted to fight Leo right away,” Mares told prior to a press conference Tuesday to officially announce their October 14 doubleheader. “It’s not a secret I’ve been telling everybody the fight was gonna happen [October 7] because at first it was confirmed, like 99 percent. But that other percent was Leo’s team and his side. They felt, and I understand, that they needed one tune-up fight. So no harm there. We took it, so now I have to go and take my fight also, and hope that we both come out victorious and healthy to make that [rematch] happen.”

Mares, of Montebello, California, feels he has the tougher fight October 14, but if Mares and Santa Cruz win they have agreed to take part in a rematch within the first quarter of 2018. Santa Cruz beat Mares by majority decision in their first fight two years ago at Staples Center.

The 31-year-old Mares admits he was surprised Santa Cruz pushed for interim bouts, but the former Mexican Olympian is willing to do whatever it takes to get his shot at redemption.

“I was a little bit surprised, but then again, him, as a fighter, he’s coming from two tough fights back-to-back,” Mares said, referring to Santa Cruz’s fights against Carl Frampton. “So if the body tells you that you need rest, you have to listen to it. So I can’t say I was surprised. I was coming from a tough fight, also, and a longer layoff, but I felt like it was a perfect time to get that rematch. Again, bodies are different.”

The 29-year-old Santa Cruz, of Rosemead, California, defeated Frampton by majority decision to win back the WBA super world featherweight title January 28 in Las Vegas. That 12-round win enabled Santa Cruz to avenge a 12-round, majority decision loss to Northern Ireland’s Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) in July 2016 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Mares will end an even longer layoff than Santa Cruz on October 14. He hasn’t boxed since he beat Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) by split decision to win the WBA world featherweight title December 10 in Los Angeles.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by ShoulderRoll on 09-06-2017

Santa Cruz us coming off two straight fights with Frampton. You guys are such ingrates.

Comment by The Smash on 09-06-2017

F[I]uck[/I] Santa Cruz.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Stephen Simmons Contemplating Retirement After Askin Loss Frampton vs. Donaire - WBO Interim-Title Now at Stake Willie Limond Inks With MTK Ahead of His Comeback Joshua Explains Why Parker is Tougher Fight Than Wilder Golovkin: If Canelo Rematch Falls Out - I Want Billy Joe Saunders! Otto Wallin vs. Adrian Granat: Robin Safar Added To The Card Hearn: Whyte vs. Browne Winner Will 100% Get a Title Shot Joshua: I'm Not Overlooking Parker, Not the One Talking Wilder Golovkin Promoter: GGG Wants Canelo, NOT Looking For Way Out! Pacquiao Camp Standing Firm That Top Rank Contract Expired Joshua Interested in UFC Deal, But Says He's 'Riding With' Hearn Photos: Ryan Garcia, Fernando Vargas - Ready For Battle WBC Prez is Shocked: This is Not The Golovkin That We Know Bob Arum: We're Not Ready To Give Up on Felix Verdejo Ryan Martin vs. Luis Eduardo Florez Tops Hollywood Fight Nights Joshua Warns Wilder: Be Realistic or We'll Freeze You Out Hughie Fury Prepares For Sexton With Bolton Wanderers Top Rank on Making Deal With Golden Boy For Loma-Linares Kautondokwa Still Unbeaten, Knocks Godoy Out in Five Parker's Trainer: Despite Taunts, Joshua 'Has Pretty Good Chin' Linares: On May 12 - Lomachenko Will Bow Down To King Jorge! Golovkin Wants Answers: What Did Canelo Inject in His Belly? Tyrone McKenna vs. Anthony Upton on Frampton-Donaire Card Photos: Anthony Joshua in Top Form, Grinds For Parker Clash Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares - Ticket Information Whyte: Browne 'Just a Clubber;' He Hasn't Fought Anyone Like Me Ryan Garcia: I Want Gervonta Davis, I Want To Fight Him! Hearn Sides With Joshua's Position: No Face To Face With Wilder Browne: 'Idiot' Whyte Famous Only for Getting KO'd by Joshua Naoya Inoue's Power Has Improved at 118, Says Sparring Partner Hearn: Anthony Joshua is Very Interested in Rematch With Whyte Frank Bruno Issues Joseph Parker Warning To Anthony Joshua Golden Boy Prez on Golovkin: Sounds Like Fear, Making Excuses Liam Smith: There is No Way Ali Beats Even a 75% Version of Cotto Willy Vlautin and His Love For The Sport of Boxing WBC Prez is Waiting For Mikey Garcia To Make His Decision Golden Boy Prez Reacts: It Sounds Like Golovkin Wants Out! Golovkin: Those Responsible For Draw Are Terrorists, Need Jail! Golovkin: Canelo is Cheating, Using Drugs - De La Hoya is Dirty Yuriorkis Gamboa, Golden Boy Promotions Part Ways

Latest Active Forum Threads