By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Floyd Mayweather wasn’t dismissive of Abner Mares.
The retired legend just thinks a bigger, stronger Hugo Ruiz ultimately will prove to be a tougher opponent for Gervonta Davis than Mares would’ve been Saturday night in Carson, California. The 5-feet-9½ Ruiz stands four full inches taller than the heavily favored Davis, has knocked out 33 of his 43 pro opponents and is a former WBA interim bantamweight champion.
The 33-year-old Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) is an inch shorter than Davis and has produced just one knockout victory in the past 5½ years. Ruiz, 32, has been knocked out three times, though, whereas Mares’ lone knockout loss came when Jhonny Gonzalez stopped him in the first round in August 2013.
Mares pulled out of his fight against Baltimore’s Davis last week due to a detached retina in his right eye. The former three-division champion suffered that career-threatening injury two weeks ago while sparring.
Mayweather, whose company promotes Davis, stated Thursday during a press conference at the Los Angeles Airport Westin that he considers Ruiz more of a threat than Mares.
“This kid works extremely hard,” Mayweather said in reference to Davis. “But you can never take anything for granted. I think this fighter is more dangerous than Abner Mares. That’s just my honest opinion. But I also think that Abner Mares is a hell of a fighter. And it’s all about taking chances and taking risks. One thing we can’t do is down ‘Tank,’ because all he has done is beat the fighters that was put in front of him. Same thing that I done.
“So, we’re not here to criticize him. I’m here to uplift him and tell him that I wanna see him do good. But I don’t wanna just see him do good. I wanna see every fighter on this [dais] do good. And I’m pretty sure, you know, because Ruiz is a hell of a fighter, he’s a tough competitor, a former world champion. So, he’s not a pushover.”
Handicappers have installed the 24-year-old Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) as a 50-1 favorite over Ruiz (39-4, 33 KOs) entering the main event of Showtime’s tripleheader.
The three-bout broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with a 10-round lightweight bout that’ll match Las Vegas’ Sharif Bogere (32-1, 20 KOs) against the Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs, 2 NC). Following the Bogere-Fortuna fight, San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (22-0, 14 KOs) and Mexico’s Richard Zamora (19-2, 12 KOs) also are scheduled to meet in a 10-round junior welterweight fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.