Last Saturday night Abner Mares defeated Eric Morel to win the vacant WBC super bantamweight which was technically fought at a catchweight of 120 pounds.
In the process Abner showed that his action pack style mixed with skill will cause problems for anyone one at 122. Mares moves to a record of 24-0-1 after his victory versus Morel and is in line to once again try to fight the best at 122 or at least someone in top 10, like he did at 118. In today's boxing game promoters have slowed the pace to which there are willing to put top prospects who have become contenders in with the top level guys at there weight class or at least testing the waters with a true step up fight. No one is asking promoters who have invested money into there young fighters to throw them in with the wolves too early when there not ready for it.
But if you compare your average prospect/contender to what Abner Mares has done in just 25 fights, he has proven not only his worth but that his skill level is on par or higher then many of the fighters he has fought or wanted to fight and didn't get the oppurtunity at 118. He was moved smartly to the 122 pound division with a catchweight that allows his to test how his body feels at the weight and a chance at a belt, which gives him a great shot to score not just big fights but solid opponents in the foreseeable future.
After 20 fights he surpassed a step up fight by stepping into the ring with then IBF Bantamweight Champion Yohnny Perez. It was a back and fourth fight that ended in a draw but many people in the boxing industry felt Mares had done enough to closely edge Perez. Either way the 1 on his record was slated in the 3rd spot, not the more important loss column which would have sent young Abner back down the ladder and would have put him in the high risk low reward area. In his fight with Perez and there after, he has shown the capability to bring both exciting fights and skill from the inside and outside, something that is lacking even with some of the top fighters at each weigh class. Most come forward fighters use there face as a jab while throwing bombs that end up not landing on skilled fighters and also puts them at risk of being counterpunched and or outclassed.
No fighter is perfect and Abner showed his style can get a little too careless when he took on well respected power puncher Vic Darchinyan. The fight provided plenty of adversity for Abner to become hesitant or quit in the way some fighters do by spoiling the fight with too much running away or with excess of holding just to spare them from a one sided beat down. When abner was knocked down and cut early in that fight he responded the way a fighter and a true champion should, he fought back. Sometimes through brawling and exhanges with the "Raging Bull", other times he got back to his jab to set up his punches. It was a hard fought victory but he earned it and showed his true heart and skill once again in the fight.
His two fights with the rugged and also skillful Joseph Agbeko showed me even more of what this guy is made of. The first fight saw a young Mares going to the body like a veteran fighter would. Albeit at times much too low with his body shots, but the rule of thumb in boxing is, if the ref isn't calling it, it's not cheating. In fact many fans and scribes alike were torn on there opinion on what were clearly too many low blows, but many of those same people thought, as did I, that Agbeko should have gotten even with some low blows of himself since the ref wasn't calling them.
In that same breath I understand why Agbeko didn't get his revenge with all the ref complaints to him about holding Abner's head down which did cause some of the borderline shots or good body shots to go low. Either way this is boxing like any other sport and if the refs are not calling something or the opposite, making calls right away which seem ticky tack, then an athlete in this case a fighter must make the adjustment. Either way you can't place the blame soley on Abner Mares, you have to shift a good portion of the blame on the referee as well for not calling the low blows and the overall politics of boxing seem to always merit blame.
The fact that he showed his willingness to give a much deserved rematch to Agbeko sends a clear message that Abner Mares is here to fight the best. He is not afraid to risk his "o" to prove people wrong and at the same time he has the confidence in the improvments and adjustments he can make from fight to fight. Mares, unlike many even veteran fighters, was not afraid to do what he does best and that is go to the body with a reckless abandonment. We all knew the referee would be looking for him to stray low but that didn't not stop Mares from winning this fight clearly with no doubt this time around. His recent fight with Eric Morel, who has done most of his damage at 115 and 118, was still a great performance against a tough fighter that came out sharp in the early rounds.
Morel looked like he belonged and it gave Abner a chance to adjust to a higher wieght and see a different style, something that the fighters at 122 have an abundance of. Fighters such as Tochiaki Nishioka, Nonito Donaire, and Guillermo Rigondeaux all possess a slick style that combines speed with the ability to counterpunch. Now we know Morel was not on those fighters level but it doesn't hurt to face a different style then the come foward style that Darchinyan and Perez presented him. Agbeko has show that he can do damage on the outside with a jab and good looping right hand but also doesn't have the speed or skill to hang with to elite guys at 122.
Abner has a...
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