Abner Mares talks Leo Santa Cruz, predicts Valdez v Quigg and Frampton v Donaire

Ryan Greene

Ábner Mares, the Mexican WBA featherweight champion revealed his plans for 2018, including the possibility of a rematch against the also triple world champion Leo Santa Cruz, as well as the chance of enrolling in a tournament with the best featherweights of the world and other great rivals.

Native from Jalisco but settled in California, the 32 years old Mexican fighter has a record of 31 wins, 15 of them by KO, 2 defeats and 1 draw. He also gave his predictions for two of the most waited for duels in the featherweight division, the one between Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire, and the tentative one between Óscar Valdez and Scott Quigg in the first half of 2018.

What are your plans for 2018, has the WBA ordered a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz?
Ábner: I want to keep on defending my current championship with the WBA, and then grab that Super Champion title Leo Santa Cruz has, I have the regular title and I want to establish myself as a solid champion in this division.

How close is the fight against Santa Cruz after two failed attempts?
Ábner: That fight has already been talked over and confirmed, you could say, it only has not been assured for some details. It is confirmed, it only needs the date and place. They told me sometime between March, April or May and for that I am preparing.

In what sports and personal stage is Ábner Mares?
Ábner: In the best ever. I have learned a lot during my time in boxing, I have had difficult times in my career from which I have learned. I have seen the good and the bad times, but now, God bless, I am at a place where I can do so much both inside and outside the ring. The relationship I have with Ringstar Sports helps me and I keep on touching on the subject of my trainer, Robert García, he has helped me a lot, he has rejuvenated me, that is he word I’ve been using because that is how I feel and how I have looked in the latest fights, a rejuvenated Ábner with still much to give.

Is the Featherweight division one of the hottest in current boxing?
Ábner: We the featherweight do not lag behind with respect to other divisions, in fact it has been rumored about a possible tournament in this division, which wouldn’t be bad at all, there are so many fighters who could take advantage of a great marquee or a great tournament, including Nonito Donaire, who keeps being talked about for fighting Carl Frampton. I am happy in this division, I can face Leo Santa Cruz, Frampton, Óscar Valdez, Gary Russell, and any of them would pose a great fight.

Your predictions on Valdez-Quigg and Frampton-Donaire?
Ábner: Óscar Valdez and Frampton should win their fights, but that doesn’t mean they will be easy combats given their rival’s experience. Quigg is a great fighter that has given several battles and has been in good combats and keeps going. In the case of Nonito, what can I say, he is a fighter with ups and downs but he is trying to establish himself and rise to the elite category and he can achieve it by defeating Frampton. They should not be overconfident.

Does one get contagiously inspired in the gym when you share with Mikey García?
Ábner: You get contagiously inspired just by having Mikey García there, a great champion, also the great fighters that Robert has, there are a lot of young prospects and those are the fighters you box with. To know you have the same wants and desires of a young boxer of 20-21 years old, speaks volumes about the team.

How was your phase with the manager Misael Rodríguez?
Ábner: Very good, thank God. We started the year very well with six fights, he started his year in April and to open he has to have eight or nine combats.