By Keith Idec
Two months after squandering an opportunity without even stepping into the ring, Andres Gutierrez is determined to take full advantage of his second chance next week.
Mexico’s Gutierrez predicted during a conference call Wednesday that he’ll “shock” people by upsetting Abner Mares in their featherweight title fight October 14. Mares will defend his WBA world 126-pound title against Gutierrez in one of two featherweight championship matches FOX will televise from StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“I’m coming to surprise everybody,” Gutierrez said through a translator. “I feel very good. It is my dream to bring home a world championship and I’m gonna go ahead and really shock the boxing fans in Los Angeles. I’m not just an opponent.”
The 24-year-old Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) has lost only a 12-round majority decision to fellow Mexican Cristian Mijares (57-8-2, 26 KOs) in June 2016. He was supposed to fight Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) on July 29 in Belfast, but he slipped in the shower after their weigh-in July 28, which caused cuts to his chin and nose and damaged two of his teeth.
Gutierrez withdrew from their fight and the entire card was canceled. He declined to discuss that setback Wednesday and chose to focus only his shot at Mares’ 126-pound crown.
If he can upset Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs), Gutierrez will ruin the tentatively scheduled Leo Santa Cruz-Mares rematch. They’re expected to fight again in March if Mares beats Gutierrez and Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) overcomes Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) in the main event October 14.
“We’re not looking past Gutierrez,” Mares said. “He’s a great fighter. He’s a hungry kid. … I remember when I was that age, 26, and I got my opportunity for a world title. So I could just imagine how happy he is and [how he’s] looking forward to this fight. But again, I’m no pushover. I’m in my prime, I’m strong. I feel great.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.