by Miguel Rivera
World Boxing Association (WBA) "regular" featherweight champion Abner Mares is very hungry to get back in the ring with Leo Santa Cruz, who holds the WBA "super" featherweight beltholder.
The two boxers will be involved in a televised doubleheader on October 14th. Mares will take on Andres Gutierrez on the card, which takes place at the StubHub Center in California. And in Santa Cruz will face Chris Avalos in the main event.
Back on August 29, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz defeated Mares by way of a majority decision. The contest was very competitive and one of the better fights of the year.
Mares knows Santa Cruz will be a very difficult fight the second time around.
And he knows exactly what is needed to win.
"Counter punching, great defense, the speed, a little bit of everything, Leo Santa Cruz is quite difficult, we will demonstrate the ability we have, a smarter, more disciplined Abner," Mares said to ESPN Deportes.
Mares is now being trained by Robert Garcia, who believes Santa Cruz knew full well that everything would be different in the second fight.
"The fight plan I have against Leo will be totally different, that's why I think Leo himself and his dad wanted a preparation fight before facing Ábner," Garcia said.
Garcia watched the first fight and felt Mares was doing too much to try to please the crowd instead of boxing smart.
"Mares follows the instructions as I indicated, he continues to do everything I tell him, he shows me respect as a coach, asks me for advice and has improved a lot, and we are doing work on his legs and using many angles," Garcia says.
Mares, who has a record of 30-2-1, 15KO's, said he contemplates the possibility of fighting in the super featherweight division in the near future.