Three-Division, Four-Time World Champion Abner Mares Sustains Injury; Forced To Withdraw From Match Against WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Gervonta Davis
Three-division, four-time champion Abner Mares has been forced to pull out of the WBA Super Featherweight title match against two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis on Saturday, February 9 after suffering an injury while training.
Davis will now defend against former world champion Hugo Ruiz in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, with coverage beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Ruiz is an all-action brawler who previously picked up a world title at super bantamweight in 2015 and most recently defeated Alberto Guevara in January on the Pacquiao vs. Broner PPV event in a featherweight fight. Ruiz, who owns 18 first round knockouts, floored Guevara in the opening minute and cruised to a near-shutout decision victory.
He had originally been slotted for an interim title shot against Jhack Tepora in January before Tepora missed weight, but will now have his chance to fight for a belt against one of the most-feared punchers at 130-pounds on February 9. The 30-year-old from Sinaloa, Mexico stands at five feet, nine inches tall, nearly four inches taller than Davis, and has won three straight fights leading up to this fight.
“I trained for three months to fight a southpaw when I fought in January,” said Ruiz. “When the opponent changed, it was hard to adjust in 24 hours. After the fight I immediately went back to the gym, because you never know what’s going to happen in boxing. I’m 100 percent ready to knockout Gervonta Davis.”
“Hugo Ruiz has another opportunity to fight for a world title because he’s demonstrated that he’s devoted to boxing and his career,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Ruiz’s Promoter. “He went right back to the gym after his last fight. He’s ready for another great opportunity to be a world champion and he’s going to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Mares injured his right elbow during sparring at the Robert Garcia Boxing Gym in Riverside, Calif. Mares said he had experienced soreness in his elbow following the past two fights, but nothing that had ever given him nor his team concern.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’m disappointed and devastated that I’ve injured my right elbow in sparring,’’ Mares said. “This is something that I haven’t had happen to me during my career and the feeling is just horrible. I will be going to see my doctor about this and am prepared to follow whatever recommendations and rehab that gets me back into the ring. I’m healthy, not afraid of doing the work and I will be back. This is a temporary setback. Don’t count me out.’’
“Boxing is a sport of brains, passion and physical punishment,” said Mares’ trainer Robert Garcia. “When you’re in the ring sparring with talented, top-class sparring partners, the chances of injuries are very high. That was the situation in this case. He was sparring top young fighters and he injured his elbow. He cannot fight like that, especially in a fight against Davis.”
Mares, who has engaged in numerous memorable fights throughout his storied career, was seeking to move up in weight and looking to capture his fifth world title in a fourth weight class.
Jorge Linares Takes on Abner Cotto This Weekend
By: Michael Kane
Jorge Linares, the former three weight world champion is jack in the ring this weekend.
Linares will face Abner Cotto as he moves to the light welterweight division after suffering defeat in his last lightweight fight when he lost his WBA and The Ring Magazine Titles to Vasyl Lomanchenko by KO in the 8th round, back in May.
Photo Credit: Jorge Linares Twitter Account
Although Linares, 33, lost to the highly rated Lomanchenko, he had put in a good performance and managed to drop Lomanchenko for the first time in his career.
Linares moves up to a light welterweight division that is packed with young hungry contenders and will be looking to make a statement against Cotto.
Cotto (23-3), from Puerto Rico, is on a five fight winning streak. He defeated Samuel Santana in his last outing, winning by TKO in the 4th round, for the vacant WBC FECARBOX Super Lightweight Title.
Cotto is a member of the famous Cotto family that has produced a world champion (Miguel) and multiple amateur champions.
Cotto has struggled when he has faced a high level opponent which undoubtedly Linares is. His three losses have come against Javier Fortuna, suffering a 6th round KO, Francisco Vargas, losing a unanimous decision and Omar Figureroa Jr defeated by 1st round KO.
Cotto’s biggest win is probably against former world title challenger Jerry Belmomtes in 2014 when he won a split decision.
With a fair amount of the division tied up with the upcoming World Boxing Super Series, Linares might find the big fights limited. Jose Ramirez is one champion that is not taking part in the tournament and this could make a mouth watering fight in the coming months.
“I feel very excited for this opportunity that this sport offers me,” Cotto said in the press release for the fight.
“I’m immensely grateful to my team and my promoters for bringing my career back to the highest. This is a sport where I have fallen but with the support of my family, my people and the commitment of my team, I have returned with much more desire to achieve the goal I have always dreamed of since I was 10 years old, which is to challenge for a world title.
“My promoter has placed all its trust in me, and I will work tirelessly to achieve the goals set.”
Linares said, ” I am coming back hungrier, than ever to demonstrate that I am still one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
“I want those big fights and the world has not seen the best of me. With my new trainer and my team, we will demonstrate that I am more than capable in taking over this new super lightweight division, against a notable opponent in Abner Cotto. This September 29, fans will see a determined Jorge Linares!”
With a stacked division with a lot of young hungry boxers, time will tell if Linares has made the correct decision in moving to light welterweight however he should have too much in his locker for Cotto.
Abner Mares joins the Fight for Humane Treatment of Immigrant Families
By Eric Lunger
Abner Mares, a former three-division world champion, might be best known for his two excellent bouts with rival Leo Santa Cruz. Mares lost both fights, first by majority and then by unanimous decision. But this week, Mares posted a win in moral courage.
An immigrant himself from Guadalajara, Mexico, Mares now resides in California and is on track to become a United States citizen in 2019. He released a statement last week that read in part:
I came to the United States from Mexico at age 7. I came here without the proper papers and didn’t speak English. Like so many women before her, my mother brought my brother, sister, and myself here for a better life. Life wasn’t easy, and we watched her work three jobs… Now as an American resident who will become an American citizen in 2019, as a father, a son, and a brother, it breaks my heart to see and hear of the forced separation of parents from their children at the borders.
Immigration is a complex issue, to be sure, and there are no simple solutions. But it is equally true that the one thing all people want, ultimately, is a chance to provide a better future for their children. That part is simple. People come to the United States because it is a land of opportunity, where hard work and a dream can be the foundation of a better future. Mares continued:
What is happening at the borders of this country, of MY country, is simply inhuman. I am an example of the American and Mexican dreams combined, the North American dream. I have a successful career in boxing and a successful business in the United States and Mexico that employs both American and Mexican citizens. I am lucky enough to have a loving family that is happy, heathy, and together.
Normally I find political symbolism in sport to be trite or superficial as, for example in the smarmy and overblown emotional “patriotism” that the NFL markets. I also think it is unfair for society to demand that athletes stand for some idea or that they are held to some simplistic, one dimensional standard. I loved when Charles Barkley said, many years ago, “I’m a basketball player — your role model should be your dad,” or something to that effect.
But there are rare times when sports, politics, and culture come together to encapsulate the Zeitgeist in a way that ordinary politics or polemics cannot: Jesse Owen in 1936 defying the absurd racist doctrines of the Nazi party; Muhammed Ali refusing induction into the army to protest American conduct in the Vietnam war; and Colin Kaepernick making a principled demonstration against continued police violence against African-Americans.
It takes courage to step through the ropes into a professional boxing ring; it takes another type of courage to speak out against injustice. For a man who makes his living with his fists, Abner Mares found a voice that all Americans can be proud of.
PBC Results: Santa Cruz and Charlo Entertain and Win
By: Ken Hissner
TG Promotions and Ringstar Sports with Showtime, promoted two world championship fights at the Staples Center in L.A., CA, Saturday.
In a rematch in the Main Event WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Mexico’s Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz, 35-1-1 (19), of Rosemead, CA, won a majority decision over WBA World Featherweight champion Abner Mares, 31-3-1 (15), of Montebello, CA, over 12 rounds of action!
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round both fighters opened up on one another. The taller Santa Cruz is using a jab setting up Mares. The jab of Mares mostly falls short. Cruz landed a triple jab but got countered by a right uppercut to the chin from Mares. It was a close round. In the second round both fighters continue to throw punches yet show respect for one another by touching gloves when a infraction happens. Mares in close seemed to have an advantage being the shorter of the two.
In the third round Mares landed a chopping right to the head causing Santa Cruz to come right back at him. Santa Cruz landed a left hook to the chin of Mares midway through the round. Santa Cruz landed a solid right to the head of Mares. Mares twice countered a Santa Cruz miss with an overhand right to the chin.
In the fourth round Santa Cruz keeping his hands high blocks most of the punches from Mares. Santa Cruz landed a good right to the head but was countered with a combination to the head from Mares. Both fighters were throwing punches up to the bell.
In the fifth round Santa Cruz continues to use his longer reach landing with a right to the chin of Mares. Santa Cruz landed a double jab followed by a right to the chin of Mares. In the sixth round Santa Cruz lands and soon as he stops throwing Mares comes back countering Santa Cruz. At the bell both fighters were throwing punches as Referee Thomas Taylor stepped in.
In the seventh round Santa Cruz landed an overhand right to the head of Mares. Just over a minute left in the round both fighters landed right hands to the head of one another. Mares countered with three punches to the body. Once again both were throwing punches right up to the bell. In the eighth round Mares landed a good left hook to the chin of Santa Cruz. Mares kept backing Santa Cruz up. Santa Cruz was cut over the left eye due to a clash of heads. At the bell Mares landed a left hook to the head of Santa Cruz.
In the ninth round Mares came inside landing a flurry of punches. Santa Cruz landed a looping right to the head of Mares. Mares was warned about hitting behind the head. Mares seemed to be the busier of the two inside. In the tenth round Mares attacked the body of Santa Cruz well. Both throwing punches at the bell with the last one a left hook from Mares on the back of the head of Santa Cruz. Referee Taylor warned Mares about the late hit.
In the eleventh round Mares went to the body but got countered by a right uppercut from Santa Cruz. With just over a minute left in the round both were landing punches. Both were throwing punches at the bell. In the twelfth and final round they embraced one another then opened up on each other. Mares was warned for hitting behind the head. Both were landing a flurry of body punches. The crowd was on their feet in appreciation of these two warriors who gave everything they had.
Judge Danesco 115-113, Weisfeld 116-112 and Young 117-111 while this writer has it 116-112.
“We may have not thrown as many punches as in the first fight but thank God I did my best. I like to please the crowd and that is who I fight for. I want Gary Russell or whoever to unify the titles,” said Santa Cruz. Mares said “I fight for you guy’s (the crowd). Leo is a great fighter and I do not want to question the judges. Santa Cruz is No. 1, I take my hat off to him and let’s do it again,” said Mares.
WBC World Super Welterweight champion, Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo, 31-0 (15), of Houston, TX, defended his title with a majority decision over the former IBF World Super Welterweight champion southpaw Austin “No Doubt” Trout, 31-5 (17), of Las Cruces, NM, over 12 rounds.
In the first round the southpaw Trout used his jab effectively. Charlo finally landed a solid right hand to the chin one minute into the fight. Charlo hurt Trout. In the second round Trout countered with a combination to the head of Charlo. With a minute left in the round Charlo landed a lead straight right to the head of Trout. Charlo dropped Trout or was it a slip? Referee Jack Reis called it a knockdown.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the third and fourth rounds Charlo kept the pressure on Trout who was doing his best to counter him. In the fifth round there was a clash of heads. Charlo continued staying ahead of Trout. In the sixth round Trout hit Charlo with a right hook off his shoulder onto the back of his head following with a left spinning him completely around. Trout landed a right hook to the head of Charlo who complained to the referee it was on the back of his head.
In the seventh round Trout landed a right uppercut to the chin of Charlo and came back with another right hook followed by a short left to the chin of Charlo. Under a minute left in the round Trout landed a combination to the head of Charlo having him in a neutral corner. In the eighth round Trout used his jab keeping Charlo at bay and followed at times with a counter left to the chin of Charlo.
In the ninth round Charlo landed a left hook to the head of Trout dropping him. Trout complained of the punch hitting him on the back of the head. Referee Reis disagreed giving him the 8 count. Under a minute Charlo hurt Trout with a right to the chin. Trout would come back with a 3-punch combination to the head and body of Charlo. In the tenth round Trout landed a solid left to the head of Charlo. Trout had Charlo on the defense with half a dozen punches. Charlo hit Trout with a left hook causing his head to go outside the ropes while Charlo hit him with a right to the head. Referee Reis warned Charlo about hitting him while his head was outside the ropes.
In the eleventh round Trout landed a lead left uppercut to the chin of Charlo. Trout realizing with the two knockdowns he needed a knockout. He did his best but his best was not enough. In the twelfth and final round Trout landed a 3-punch combination to the head of Charlo. Trout is keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. Charlo missed with a right while Trout countered with a left to the head of Charlo. Charlo just under a minute left in the fight landed a lead straight right to the chin of Trout. Trout landed a short left uppercut while inside with half a minute left in the bout. Charlo’s knockout streak was stopped by going the distance in this fight.
Judge’s scores were 113-113, 115-111, 118-108 while this writer had it 114-112 due to the two knockdowns. “If Hurd stands in front of me I will be the unified champion. Trout fought to survive,” said Charlo. “Both Charlo’s (being whom he fought both) were helluva fighters. I lost tonight due to the knockdowns but I am not done yet,” said Trout.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Cruz vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Trout
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will rematch from a 2015 fight that featured more than 2000 total punches thrown. This rematch will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be televised live on Showtime. Santa Cruz and Mares will be fighting for Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
The co-main event of the night will be an intriguing bout between the rising Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout, who is best known for defeating Miguel Cotto. This bout will be for Charlo’s WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The undercard is packed with fights such as Karlos Balderas and Pedo Lopez in the junior lightweight division, Arnold Alejandro and Elliot Brown in the Featherweight Division, Jose Balderas and Luis Montellano in the Junior Featherweight division, and Ivan Redkach and Brian Jones in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts.
Jermell Charlo (30-0) vs. Austin Trout (31-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
The opening bout will be for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.
Trout had previously faced Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, and came up short. Charlo is four years younger than Trout and will have about an inch and a half height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
They both have decent power, Charlo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Trout has stopped seventeen. Trout has only fought once in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Charlo fought twice in 2017, once in 2016. Trout has struggled recently and went 2-2 the past four fights, Charlo has been on a tear and has never tasted defeated and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Both boxers had a pretty good amateur career. Charlo was a Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist and Trout was a US Amateur Gold Medalist.
Charlo has defeated the likes of Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, and Gabriel Rosado. Trout has defeated the likes of Joey Hernandez, Daniel Dawson, Miguel Cotto, and Delvin Rodriguez. He has losses to Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd.
Unfortunately for Trout the Charlo brothers are very close and will likely be talking about how to defeat Austin Trout. Trout’s biggest victory of his career was against Miguel Cotto and a win against Charlo might be considered an even bigger upset, but his lack of activity the past three years plus his recent struggles against high level competition makes those prospects unlikely.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
The first bout between Santa Cruz and Mares was an action packed bout with an abnormally high number of punches. Santa Cruz won a close decision when they first fought and Mares has been itching for a rematch ever since.
Santa Cruz is three years younger than Mares. He also has a three inch height and a three inch reach advantage. He will be the obvious bigger man inside the ring.
Both boxers are known for their ability to throw a high volume of punches and swarm their opponents. But Santa Cruz has been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Mares only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur career. Santa Cruz won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics and Mares competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Santa Cruz has a slight edge in power. He has nineteen stoppage victories while Mares only has fifteen.
Mares has two losses, but was stopped in one of those losses, a mild upset to Jhonny Gonzalez.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos, Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Cesar Seda, Eric Morel, and Cristian Mijares. His lone loss was to Carl Frampton, and it was a loss he later avenged.
Mares has defeated the likes of Andres Gutierrez, Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. His losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz, and he hopes to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday.
Unfortuntely for Mares he’s still fighting a bigger man who’s in the middle of his athletic prime, while Mares is hitting the age that boxers tend to show signs of slipping.
It seems likely that Santa Cruz will get a more convincing victory on Saturday night.
Abner Mares: “It’s Just A Matter Of The Best Facing The Best”
By: Sean Crose
“Making weight sucks,” Abner Mares tells me. “But you’ve got to have professionalism.” Professionalism will certainly be in order when the California based fighter has a rematch of his terrific 2015 bout against Leo Santa Cruz (airing live on Showtime June 9th from the Staples Center in Los Angeles). Mares lost on the cards the first time around, but has had two impressive wins since that time, against Jesus Cuellar and Andres Gutierrez respectively. Mares makes it clear that a fighter can lose support when he loses a fight. “The only way to really get them back,” he says, “is by impressing.” Mares has certainly impressed the right people over the past few years. The Santa Cruz rematch will be for the WBA super world featherweight title.
“I would hope so,” he says when I ask if he’s going to change his game plan for Santa Cruz this time around. “Of course, going in, I have to make a lot of changes.” Still, the 32-2-1Californain knows that a fight between he and Santa Cruz certainly isn’t going to be a boring affair. “We both have that style that’s unbreakable,” Mares says of he and his foe. “It’s difficult not to make it exciting.” As for Santa Cruz himself, Mares is generous. “He seems like a great person,” he says of his opponent, adding that the fight is “nothing personnel…it’s just a matter of the best facing the best.” As for the rumor that the winner of Santa Cruz-Mares II will move on to face Carl Frampton, Mares makes it clear that such things aren’t on his mind. “I’m not thinking of that,” he says.
As fight date nears, Mares is confident. “I have half the fight won already,” he says, “because I have a great corner.” And that corner comes courtesy of one Robert Garcia, former titlist turned esteemed trainer. A Garcia camp has a family feel to it, something Mares appreciates. “There’s always that respect,” he says of the way Garcia does things. “When there’s no respect, you don’t learn anything.” To Mares, boxing is something that regularly calls for growth, even when one has reached the heights he himself has. “It’s been tremendous,” he says. “You never stop learning with him (Garcia).”
Still, boxing can also be a struggle. “We’re at that state right now where we’re just cutting weight,” he states. Yet Mares also makes it clear that the struggle is worth it. “Walking into that ring…” he says thoughtfully, clearly still impacted by the rush it gives him after so many professional fights. “Boxing is my life,” he states, “and boxing is all I know what to do.” That doesn’t mean the man doesn’t have side projects, though. Promoting a fight of the magnitude of Santa Cruz-Mares II can be a job in its own right. There’s throwing the opening pitch at a Dodgers’ game, after all. “It was great,” he says of the experience. “I hadn’t thrown a baseball in years.” Indeed, Mares admits he’s “amazed” at how well he was able to throw a burner.
The fighter has also been spending time doing charitable work with young people. “I do that a lot,” he says. Mares recently hosted “Champions Day” for the LA Sheriff’s Department. “I’ve been part of this youth program for four years or more already,” he tells me. “A lot of people forget where they came from. I don’t.” Conversely, Mares isn’t forgetting where he wants to go. He’ll be the toast of boxing if bests Santa Cruz in their second go round, something he’s clearly confident of doing. The man is riding high right now (he admits to being “really pleased” with the work he did the last time he was in the ring). He’ll be riding even higher if his hand is raised in victory June 9th at LA’s Staple Center.
PBC on Fox Results: Santa Cruz and Mares Win by Stoppage, DeMarco Upsets Ramirez
By: William Holmes
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California hosted tonight’s Premier Boxing Champions telecast live on the Fox Network.
Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, two of the best featherweights in the sport, previously met in a closely contested bout that saw Santa Cruz emerge the victor.
Photo Credit: Erick Ramirez/Ringstar Sports
Both were angling for a possible rematch provided they were able to win tonight.
The first fight of the night was between Antonio DeMarco (32-6-1) and Eddie Ramirez (17-0) in the super lightweight division.
DeMarco, a southpaw, was a big step up in competition for Ramirez. Ramirez landed some good body shots early in the first round but DeMarco landed a right uppercut/left hook combination that hurt Ramirez zand had him back pedaling.
DeMarco stalked Ramirez around the ring and landed several hard blows on Ramirez by the corner. A right hook left uppercut combination by DeMarco on a badly hurt Ramirez by the ropes forced the referee to end the fight.
Antonio DeMarco wins by TKO at 1:56 of the first round.
Abner Mares (30-2-1) and Andres Gutierrez (25-1-1) met next for the WBA “Regular” Featherweight Title.
Mares started the fight off fast and landed several good combinations in the first round on a plodding Gutierrez. Gutierrez continued to come forward in the second round, but Mares was able to open up a cut by his left eye and aim at it for most of the round.
Mares’ continued to pummel Gutierrez in the third and fourth rounds, but Gutierrez displayed a granite chin and never appeared to be hurt. Mares was blinking a lot after some of Gutierrez’s jabs landed in the fifth round, but he was back to showing his dominance in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Gutierrez’s left eye was gushing blood in the eighth round and by the start of the ninth round Mares had already thrown 659 punches.
Gutierrez showed some signs of life at the end of the ninth round, but Mares stepped on the gas pedal n the tenth and had blood gushing from the eye of Gutierrez and even his left ear which forced the referee to stop the fight.
The referee ruled earlier that the cut was due to a clash of heads, so they went to the cards. Abner Mares wins by decision with scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
The main event was between Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) and Chris Avalos (27-5) for the WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
Santa Cruz connected early in the first round with a good overhand right and Avalos responded with some steam-less punches to the body of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz was throwing and landing the better punches in the second round and mixed up his attacks to the body in the third. He stayed true to his pressure style of fighting.
The fourth round was violent, as Santa Cruz had Avalos badly hurt with his high volume punches in the middle of the ring but somehow still managed to throw back. He looked like he was about to go down, but never did.
Avalos was able to counter a little better in the fifth round, but Santa Cruz’s pressure firmly established control in the sixth. Santa Cruz showed no signs of slowing down in the seventh as he began to focus on the body of Avalos.
The end came in the eighth round was Santa Cruz was again tagging the iron chinned Avalos from corner to corner, before the referee jumped in to stop it.
Avalos bitterly complained to the referee, but he was getting soundly beaten.
Leo Santa Cruz wins by TKO at 1:34 of the eighth round.
PBC on Fox Preview: Santa Cruz vs. Avalos, Mares vs. Gutierrez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) returns to Fox to telecast two bouts in the Fox network in the featherweight division.
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California has been major venue for boxing on the west coast and will be the host site for Saturday’s card. The PBC actually has two televised cards this weekend as they will be showing three junior middleweight title bouts from New York on Showtime after the Fox telecast.
Photo Credit: Erick Ramirez/Ringstar Sports
The following is a preview of the two planned televised bouts on Fox.
Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) vs. Chris Avalos (27-5); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
Leo Santa Cruz’s only professional loss was a close decision to Carl Frampton, but he was later able to avenge that loss in another close decision.
Santa Cruz will be facing an opponent on Saturday in which he should be a heavy favorite and win convincingly.
He’ll have a slight half an inch height advantage and about an inch in reach. He’s two years older than Avalos, but is still in his athletic prime since he’s only twenty nine years old.
Santa Cruz has been slightly more active than Avalos. He fought once in 2017, twice in 2017, and three times in 2015. Avalos fought once in 2017, once in 2017, and three times in 2015.
Santa Cruz also has a more distinguished amateur background than Avalos. He won the gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and the silver medal in the US National Championships.
Avalos does appear to have a slight edge in power. He has twenty stoppage victories while Santa Curz has eighteen. However, Avalos has gone 2-3 in his past five fights and three of his career losses have been by TKO/KO. His losses were to Mark Magsayo, Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, Jhonatan Romero, and Christopher Martin. Avalos has defeated the likes of Jose Nieves, Khabir Suleymanov, Yenifel Vicente, Drian Francisco, and Miguel Flores.
Santa Cruz’s lone defeat was the Carl Frampton, who he defeated in a rematch. He has also defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Marez, Cesar Ceda, Vitor Terrazas, and eric Morel.
All of the physicals and all of the intangibles favor Santa Cruz. It’s difficult to imagine him losing this bout.
Abner Mares (30-2-1) v. Andres Gutierrez (25-1-1); WBA “Regular” Featherweight Title
Abner Mares fought Leo Santa Cruz in 2015 and lost to him. If he’s able to beat Gutierrez on Saturday he’ll likely get a rematch against Santa Cruz.
Mares is thirty one years old and seven years older than Gutierrez. Gutierrez will have about an inch and a half in height and about an inch in reach on Mares. Gutierrez will also have the power advantage. He has stopped 68% of his opponents with 25 KO/TKOs. Mares has stopped 45% of his opponents with 15 KO/TKOs.
Mares has the edge in amateur experience. He was a silver medalist in the World Junior Championships and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for Mexico. Gutierrez has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Mares losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz. He has defeated the likes of Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Eric More, Joseph Agbeko, Anselmo Moreno, and Vic Darchinyan.
Gutierrez professional resume pales in comparison to Mares. Gutierrez has competed mainly in Mexico and lost to a past his prime Cristian Mijares. Gutierrez’s notable wins have come against Wallington Orobio, Daniel Diaz, and Salvador Sanchez.
Gutierrez age and power could give Mares problems, as Mares power has not followed him as he has moved up weight classes. But Mares technical boxing superiority and experience fighting on national television should give him an overall edge to emerge victorious on Saturday.
Mares Impresses, Charlo Destroys In Satisfying Showtime Card
Mares Impresses, Charlo Destroys In Satisfying Showtime Card
It was a battle of undefeateds Saturday night in California as Jernall Charlo – 24-0 – defended his IBF super welterweight title against Philadelphia tough guy Julian Williams – 22-0-1 – at the USC campus in Los Angeles. This was no mere tuneup. This was two top divisional fighters throwing down. It was, in short, the real thing. Both men were active and sharp in the first, with no one landing anything too significant. Things remained sharp in the second until – bang – Charlo dropped his man with a jab. Williams beat the count and the two men took to banging away for the next several seconds. Things settled down – but then Williams landed hard himself.
It was becoming an exciting affair.
Things got a bit quiet in the third – at least by the standards that had been set by the match so far. In the fourth, Williams started landing clean and hard with some consistency. It remained, however, a very close bout. Williams continued to land in the fifth, but an absolutely thunderous shot from Charlo put Williams down in highlight reel fashion. Williams managed to get up – but Charlo put him right back down again and that was the end of the fight.
Unfortunately, in an act of bad sportsmanship, Charlo refused to tap William’s offered glove after the fight. It was an off putting footnote to an impressive performance. Afterwards, however, the man publicly expressed remorse when being interviewed by Showtimes’ Jim Grey. “I apologize for me being a fighter and letting my emotions take over me,” he said.
The audience at USC appeared to be unforgiving, but that didn’t take away the fact the man apologized in public. What more could be expected of the guy?
It was then time for the main event. Thirty-one-year-old Abner Mares – 29-2-1 – was giving what might be a last grasp at glory by facing the menacing 28-1 Jesus Cuellar for Cuellar’s WBA featherweight title. The first round belonged to the veteran challenger, Mares, who controlled space and fired effectively. Cuellar started trying to rough his man up in the second and managed to find some success. Mares, however, wasn’t simply going to roll over.
Cuellar began asserting himself in the third, moving forward and landing hard. Mares landed straight and clean in the first minute of the fourth. Indeed, the experienced pro re-asserted himself and took the round. Mares went on to employ an impressive skill set throughout the fifth. Cuellar, however, kept the fight very close in the sixth, possibly taking the round with a clean shot in the final seconds. And indeed, things remained close and exciting throughout the seventh.
Yet Mares looked completely in control in the eighth. As the fight moved onto the later rounds it became clear that Mares controlled tempo and distance – but Cuellar landed the harder shots. Depending on one’s preference, it wasn’t hard seeing the rounds go to one man or another. Mares landed hard after the bell at the end of the ninth, of course, but illegal shots simply don’t count. Things remained incredibly close in the tenth – but then Cuellar tasted the canvas in the eleventh.
Cuellar got up, but it looked like Mares was going to stop him. Cuellar managed to survive the round and even remained competitive. Still, it was clear by that point that Mares had the edge. Mares played defense in the center of the ring in the twelfth and began raising his hands in victory before the round even ended. Here was a supremely confident man.
Ultimately, the judges went for Mares by split decision. Those who had possibly written Mares’ career off after his 2015 loss to Leo Santa Cruz had clearly done so too soon.
Showtime Championship Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina, Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams
Showtime Championship Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina, Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams
By: William Holmes
Showtime will be televising three world title fights on Saturday from two separate locations. The first bout they will be showing is an IBF Heavyweight Title Bout between Anthony Joshua and Eric Molina in Manchester, England. Coincidentally, HBO will also be showing a heavyweight title bout around the same time.
The other two bouts they will be showing is a WBA Featherweight Title bout between Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares, as well as a very intriguing IBF Junior Middleweight Title bout between Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams.
Two of the three bouts should be very competitive and intriguing bouts, with only the heavyweight bout having a clear and hands down favorite.
The following is a preview of all three world title bouts.
Anthony Joshua (17-0) vs. Eric Molina (25-3); IBF Heavyweight Title
Of the three world title fights that Showtime is televising, this is by far, the biggest mismatch.
Eric Molina is thirty four years old and seven years older than his opponent. He will be giving up three inches in reach and two inches in height. He also has three knockout losses and will be facing an opponent that has defeated every single boxer he’s faced as a professional by stoppage.
Molina does have nineteen knockouts, but he was unable to stop nine of his opponents.
Anthony Joshua has been very active in the past two years. He has already fought twice in 2016 and fought five times in 2015. Molina fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Joshua has the edge in amateur experience. He won the gold medal in the Super Heavyweight division in 2012. Joshua will also be fighting in front of a friendly crowd in Manchester, England.
The only reason Molina is fighting Joshua is because he scored a huge upset over the veteran Tomasz Adamek in his last fight in Adamek’s home country of Poland. However, his list of notable victories is short. His biggest wins have come against Adamek, DaVarryl Williamson, and Tony Grano. He has lost, by stoppage, to Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola, and Ashanti Jordan.
Joshua has defeated the likes of Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Every single victory that Joshua has earned has come by way of stoppage. Every single loss that Molina has suffered has come by way of stoppage.
The expectations are that those trends will continue.
Jesus Cuellar (28-1) vs. Abner Mares (29-2-1); WBA Featherweight Title
Abner Mares has had recent issues with his eyes and it has been questioned if he should ever fight again.
Mares is a good boxer, but he’s a former bantamweight world champion and is likely fighting in a higher weight class than he should be.
Mares will be giving up an inch and a half in height to Jesus Cuellar and will be giving up two inches in reach. Cuellar also has the edge in power. He has twenty one stoppage victories, all at a higher weight class than what Mares is used to competing in. Mares’ power hasn’t followed him as he’s gone up in weight classes but he still has fifteen stoppage victories.
Mares is two years older than Cuellar, but has been in the ring with some of the best bantamweights the sport of boxing has to offer. His losses were to Leo Santa Cruz and Jhonny Gonzlaez. He has defeated the likes of Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jonathan Oquendo, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan.
Cuellar hasn’t fought the same level of competition that Mares has fought as a professional, but he still has an impressive resume. He has defeated Jonathan Oquendo, Vic Darchinyan, Ruben Tamayo, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Rico Ramos. His lone loss was in 2011 to Oscar Escandon.
The biggest question mark about Cuellar on Saturday will be ring rust. He had no fights in 2016 and will be in the ring with an experienced opponent.
Mares does have the edge in amateur experience. Cuellar experienced some success in regional tournaments as an amateur, but Mares represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics.
Mares career appears to be on the downside of his career. He’s good enough to make the fight competitive and close with Cuellar, but Cuellar is the naturally bigger boxer and should be considered the favorite.
Jermall Charlo (24-0) vs. Julian Williams (22-0-1); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
If you talk to anyone involved in the Philadelphia boxing scene, they will tell you that Julian “J-Rock” Williams is one of Philadelphia’s best boxers and has the potential to be a world champion.
That reputation may have hurt Williams’ chances at securing a title shot as he has been avoided by many the past two years, but he’ll get his first chance at a world title against a very dangerous champion.
Jermall Charlo, one half of the Charlo twins, is the same age as Williams but will have a one inch height and a one inch reach advantage over Williams. He also has more knockout victories. He has stopped eighteen of the boxers he’s faced while Williams has only stopped fourteen.
They both had good amateur careers, but neither can claim any international amateur success.
Charlo has the more impressive professional resume. He has defeated the likes of Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, Cornelius Bundrage, and Antwone Smith. Two of Charlo’s past four fights were stoppage victories.
Williams has had trouble attracting a top name opponent into the ring with him, but he has beaten fighters such as Marcello Matano, Luciano Leonel Cuello, Joey Hernandez, Freddy Hernandez, and Joachim Alcine. However, William’s power appears to be improving as he has stop four of his past five opponents.
Everything on paper appears to suggest that Charlo should be the favorite on Saturday, but Williams has been avoided for a reason, and this writer believes Williams will win the IBF Junior Middleweight Title on Saturday.
PBC on CBS Preview: Thurman vs. Porter, Hurd vs. Molina
PBC on CBS Preview: Thurman vs. Porter, Hurd vs. Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will put on one of their best cards on network television of the year as Keith Thurman defends his WBA Welterweight Title against Shawn Porter in the main event of the evening.
Abner Mares was originally scheduled to face Jesus Cuellar in the co-main event of the evening, but an injury to Abner Mares forced him to withdraw. Instead, fight fans will be get to see two prospects battle it out in the junior middleweight division when Jarret Hurd takes on Oscar Molina.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York has been a boxing hotspot since the Barclays Center inception and it will be the host site for Saturday’s fight card.
Jarrett Hurd (17-0) vs. Oscar Molina (13-0-1); Junior Middleweights
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd first burst into the national spotlight when he scored an upset stoppage victory over Frank Galarza, and win over Molina could lead to a big fight in the junior middleweight division.
His opponent, Oscar Molina, will be the third straight undefeated opponent he has faced in a row and is also known for his power. Hurd has stopped eleven of his opponents and four of his past five fights failed to go the distance. Molina has ten stoppage wins, and three of his past five fights failed to go the distance.
Hurd is twenty five years old and Molina is twenty six, but Hurd will have a four inch height advantage and a six and a half inch reach advantage. They both have been very active the past two years. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and four times in 2014 while Molina fought twice in 2014 and four times in 2015.
Hurd has the better professional record so far. He has beaten the likes of Jeff Lentz, Frank Galarza, and Eric Mitchell. He’s also never been knocked down during his professional career. Molina has not beaten many names of note, but has defeated the likes of Adrien Torres and drew with Domonique Dolton.
The only noteworthy advantage Molina has over Hurd is that he fought in the 2012 Olympics for Mexico. However, Hurd is in the middle of an impressive winning streak and his height, reach, and power will be too much for Molina to handle over the course of ten rounds.
Keith Thurman (26-0) vs. Shawn Porter (26-1-1); WBA Welterweight Title
The main event of the evening is the best fight the PBC can put on in the welterweight division.
Keith Thurman, the current WBA Welterweight Champion, is considered by many to be the best boxer in the welterweight division now that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have retired. However, Shawn Porter recently beat Adrien Broner, the man many people felt would replace Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Porter is twenty nine years old and two years older than Thurman. Thurman will have a slight half an inch height advantage on Porter and Porter will have a slight half an inch reach advantage on Thurman.
They both fought twice in 2015 and in 2014. Thurman has the heavier hands, as he has stopped twenty two of his opponents while Porter has only stopped sixteen. However, as the level of competition that Thurman faces continues to get better his knockouts seems to be happening less often. Two of the past three opponents that Thurman has faced went the distance.
Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter both experienced success as an amateur. Porter was a US National Golden Gloves Champion and Thurman was an Olympic Trials Runner Up.
They both have an impressive resume as a professional. Thurman has defeated the likes of Luiz Collazo, Robert Guerrero, Leonard Bundu, Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Chavez, and Jan Zaveck. Porter has defeated Adrien Broner, Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Phil Lo Greco, and Alfonso Gomez. Porter’s lone loss was to Kell Brook.
This should be an excellent fight and could go either way. Thurman has to be considered the favorite based on his undefeated record and power. Porter is a physical and in your face type of boxer, but he can get sloppy at times and Thurman is the type of boxer that will eat up your mistakes.
Boxing Insider Interview With Jesus Cuellar
Boxing Insider Interview With Jesus Cuellar
By: Francisco Martinez
Plot thickens heading into Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares as not too long ago 2012 trainer of the year Robert Garcia was in Cuellar’s corner. Now, things have changed and along the way Robert Garcia has been extremely outspoken about the way things ended with Jesus Cuellar. BoxingInsider had the opportunity to ask Robert Garcia if things where personal and Robert stated “No, nothing personal. I have nothing against Team Cuellar. Donald is apart of it, Henry, I’ve known him since we where kids. It’s just business, you know, it just happened. It’s not like I went out looking for revenge or looking for Cuellar. Mares and his people are the ones that approached me. At that time I was free you know, not working with Cuellar anymore so I took advantage of it. First we where suppose to fight (Fernando) Montiel. It’s not like I went out looking for the fight against Cuellar. This just happened to be a good fight that Abner wanted. If I’m not mistaken Al Haymon asked him and he preferred that fight so he took it”
BoxingInsider managed to get in a few questions with Jesus Cuellar and get his side of the story and how he feels about facing his former trainer Robert Garcia in his upcoming bout versus Abner Mares for his WBA world featherweight title.
BoxingInsider: I’ve gotten the chance to ask Robert if he’s taking the fight with you personal being the way that you guys left things. How do you feel about this fight? Robert says it’s not personal but how are you taking this fight?
Jesus Cuellar: The same, it’s business. Me and Mares are both professionals and we’re going to demonstrate our best in the fight.
As Abner Mares took his turn on the podium to speak his mind he opened up by saying “I’m a level fighter and I’m going to show him there’s a deferences…” Mares went on to say “I’m working with Robert Garcia now and we’re taking this fight really serious. It’s a fight that we’re going to gain so much (from) and Robert to as he once worked with Jesus Cuellar. We’re just going to show, with me, as in example, it was a big mistake leaving him”
Jesus Cuellar took exception to those remarks and said “If I’m a lower level fighter than why are they throwing me in there with him? Why did he take the fight? (Laughs) He wants to be champion (I’m the champion)”
BoxingInsider: Is there any pressure there to have success being that Sergio Martinez is long retired. (Marcos) Maidana looks like he’s not coming back anytime soon. Is there any pressure to carry the torch for the Argentinian boxing scene?
Jesus Cuellar: No, no, for me there’s no pressure. I train in the gym with my team and the flag is always risen. In the ring or in the gym.
BoxingInsider: Just as he’s facing Abner Mares, (Leo) Santa Cruz is facing (Carl) Frampton. It’s kind of a tournament to see who’s the best 126lbs. How does he feel about that fight, Santa Cruz vs Frampton?
Jesus Cuellar: It’s a great fight and Leo (Santa Cruz) is a great fighter. He’s going to be victorious but I will show to each and everyone of them who’s the best fighter in the division.
BoxingInsider: Not looking past Mares but in the future if, Santa Cruz beats Frampton would you like a showdown with Santa Cruz to prove who’s the real WBA champion?
Jesus Cuellar: Yes but first we have our fights and if I get past Mares than yes, I would love a fight against Santa Cruz.
Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares is apart of the Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter card a “hybrid” broadcast dubbed Showtime championship boxing on CBS. Basically brings Showtime programmed boxing to “free” television around the world. Feeding off the “free boxing 4 all” vision Premier Boxing Champions has brought to millions of fans all over the world since its inception.
With a win Jesus Cuellar looks to set up a mega showdown with Current WBA Super World featherweight champion in Leo Santa Cruz who he, himself has the heavy task of vanquishing Carl Frampton who’s making the move up in weight from 122lbs (Super Bantamweight) to 126lbs (Featherweight) in the process giving up his WBA & IBF 122lbs titles for the lucrative opportunity to face Santa Cruz.
As for Abner Mares, he’s aiming to become a 4 time world champion and avoiding what many critics feels could be his last opportunity to prove he’s still a “A level” fighter, his words, not ours. Abner Mares also used the same punchline when he fought Leo Santa Cruz at the Staples Center in front of 13k fans, stating, “Leo Santa Cruz is a fighter who has fought nothing but C-level fighters. Now he’s fighting an A-level fighter…” In his fight against Santa Cruz Mares didn’t stick to the game plan but feels with Robert Garcia in his corner things will play out much more different. If Abner Mares wants the opportunity to make things right with Santa Cruz he has to get past Cuellar, the “mini Marcos Maidana” according to Showtime executive vice president Stephen Espinoza.
So tune in this June 25th for an action packed card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. make sure to use hashtags #PBCONCBS #CUELLARMARES on social media to follow all coverage on fight.