By Keith Idec
The man who most recently shared a ring with Jesus Cuellar cannot envision him winning Saturday night.
Abner Mares expects Gervonta Davis to beat Cuellar “easily” when they fight for a version of the WBA’s super featherweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Argentina’s Cuellar hasn’t fought in the 16 months since Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) beat him by split decision for a version of the WBA’s featherweight championship in Los Angeles.
“I think Gervonta should win the fight because I, myself, just giving [Cuellar] certain angles, boxing him, was able to really get to him and beat him to the punch,” Mares told BoxingScene.com. “And I think Gervonta, being a more natural boxer – you know, he’s got [good] footwork – should make this fight an easy win for him.”
Mares added, however, that if a better Cuellar comes to the ring Saturday night than the one that he fought, the aggressive, powerful Cuellar could make their 12-round, 130-pound title bout interesting.
“If the Cuellar that he claims was not the Cuellar that showed up the night I fought him shows up and gives [Davis] pressure,” Mares said, “and is more hungry and I guess stronger at 130, it could turn out to be an interesting fight. Because we all know Gervonta is good the first couple rounds and then tends to get tired and gives up the last rounds. So if Cuellar is able to pressure him and land a good punch, because we know he’s a good power puncher, it could turn out to be an exciting matchup.”
Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs), who was knocked down by Mares during the 11th round, has moved up from 126 pounds to 130 to face Davis on Saturday night.
Baltimore’s Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) will fight for the first time since he knocked out Costa Rica’s Francisco Fonseca in the eighth round August 26 on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Davis lost his IBF super featherweight title the day before he fought Fonseca (21-1-1, 15 KOs) because he couldn’t make the 130-pound limit for that championship match.
Showtime will televise the Davis-Cuellar contest as part of a tripleheader that’ll feature Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Las Vegas’ Jessie Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) in the 12-round, 144-pound main event. The telecast also will include a 12-rounder between Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California, for the WBC’s interim middleweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.