The 30 year-old pushed Santa Cruz all the way last August before missing out via a majority decision and now faces Fernando Montiel in a warm-up before focusing his attention on securing a second fight.
Should Santa Cruz prove elusive in summer, as the WBA featherweight champion has done in the first quarter of 2016, Mares will switch his attention to three of the other four champions, two in particular.
“I would like to fight any of the current champions, but obviously, I have that fight with Leo that I want to get off my chest. Any fights against Russell, Cuellar or Selby,” Mares exclusively told World Boxing News in a recent interview.
“I know a fight with Lee (Selby) could be made and the Cuellar fight should be easy to make too, so I think any of those you will see me take on in my next feature fight.”
One belt holder at 126 would prove difficult to secure for the talented fighter as WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko’s promotional status means a clash between the pair is highly unlikely.
Asked whether he would consider facing Guillermo Rigondeaux at 126 should the Cuban move up in weight, Mares put the former super-bantamweight in the same bracket as the Ukrainian amateur superstar.
“I’d be interested in fighting Guillermo Rigondeaux, but I’d be lying to you if I told you I think it could be made,” he said.
“I think it’s a promotional deal and there could be problems with what they have between them. It’s hard to make that fight and even the Lomachenko fight if I wanted it.
“I’d be a liar if I said, ‘yeah, let’s make it happen’ when I know it’s probably impossible to make those fights,” added Mares.