Exclusive: Mares discusses Santa Cruz or Gonzalez II, plus UK rivals
The featherweight division is starting to really take off and former three-weight world champion Abner Mares is glad to be amongst the growing excitement.
The all-action Mexican – who lost to Leo Santa Cruz in his last bout – is preparing for a second consecutive raid on a world title when he faces WBA ‘regular’ champion Jesus Cuellar in New York on June 25.
Even with the departure of Amateur great Vasyl Lomachenko from the division, with the likes of Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr, Lee Selby, plus the recently-joined Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez amongst the elite 126lb mix, there are plenty of appetising potential match-ups for Mares (29-2-1, 15 KO) to consider in the future.
“It’s an A-class division right now and there are many top fighters around who all have different styles,” the 30-year old exclusively told World Boxing News.
“It is going to be interesting to see what fights are made and how they will finish in the next few years. Right now, we are facing one world champion and then we could go on and face another to unify, whether it be the Santa Cruz fight, Selby or Russell Jr.
“The Santa Cruz rematch is the one I want but I will face anyone. In the UK, you’ve got two really good and talented fighters in Selby and Frampton and they are making a name for themselves.
“Selby still has a bit to show and hasn’t looked brilliant in his last two fights, while Frampton did great against Quigg even though it wasn’t the most exciting fight.”
Mares’ defeat to Santa Cruz was the second of his career having previously been stopped by Jhonny Gonzalez in the first round of their 2013 title fight and it is a defeat that still plays heavy on the mind of the Californian resident.
He said: “I still blame myself for that KO loss to Gonzalez and I just wasn’t warmed up properly in the first round and got caught. I really want the rematch and have put it out there many times, but there is always something preventing it.
“For example, before this Cuellar fight was made we wanted to face Gonzalez and his answer was that he couldn’t make 126lb anymore – his team said that we would have to move up in weight to face him. They bring no titles to the table so have no right to dictate all the terms.
“If they want the fight it is there at 126 and if it can not be made then we move on.”
Matt Horan is lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123