By Miguel Maravilla
Four-time world champion and current WBA World featherweight champion Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) of Hawaiian Gardens, California by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico is ready to return to the ring Saturday as he will square off against Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) of Mexico at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California co-headlining the Premier Boxing Champions on FOX card.
“I am ready for this fight and I can’t wait to show you a good fight, Mares told Fightnews.com®. “I’m looking forward to showcasing once again alongside Robert Garcia, the new Abner.”
This is the second camp under trainer Robert Garcia as Mares trained in Riverside, California.
“We had a great camp once again. To be learning so much right now with Robert Garcia, it’s just amazing,” Mares on training camp.
“Everything that’s working is working really good. Training has gone great,” Garcia told Fightnews.com®. “We’re going to prove what we’ve done in the gym and bring it to the ring,” Garcia added.
Mares will be returning to the scene of the crime, the Stub Hub Center where he suffered his first loss to Jhonny Gonzalez via first round knockout.
“I will be returning to the scene of the crime but there have been many great fights there at the Stub Hub Center and we hope to give a good fight that night,” Mares on returning to the Stub Hub Center
The 31-year-old Mares will defend his WBA title he won over Jesus Cuellar in his last fight this past December. A fight in which many boxing media including myself counted him out against the hard-hitting Argentinian.
“Yes many people counted me out but I had one whole year to work with Robert and learn many things. It showed in that fight and we were happy to prove everyone wrong,” Mares said.
He will be facing the once-beaten Gutierrez whose only loss came to former world champion Cristian Mijares, as he is coming off a TKO over Wallington Orobio. Gutierrez was scheduled to take on former world champion Carl Frampton last month, however, he suffered a freak accident slipping in the shower and suffered cuts to his face the day before the fight following the weight in.
“He is a warrior, a young and hungry fighter. It’s not an easy fight but at the end of the day he does not have the talent I have and the heart that I have. I will come out victorious,” Mares on his opponent Gutierrez.
“We’re waiting for a good fight. We know Gutierrez is a young kid that is hungry for this title opportunity. So, we know we’re going in there against a hungry, young fighter that wants to become a world champion,” Garcia on Gutierrez. “We’re not looking past Gutierrez.”
If Mares gets passed Gutierrez, all indications are pointing towards a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz to take place early next year as Santa Cruz will take on Chris Avalos that same night shortly after in the main event.
“I’m not looking at his opponent, I’m focused on mine, he’s focused on his opponent. At the end of the day I just want to perform, look great and get ready for not just Leo but any fight that’s going to happen,” Mares said.
It was August of 2015, Mares and Santa Cruz squared off in the Los Angeles featherweight showdown. Santa Cruz defeated Mares by decision for L.A. bragging rights as Mares recalls the fight and gave his thoughts on a potential rematch.
“I just fought the wrong fight and I did not stick to my plan. This time it would be a much different fight and Leo knows it,” Mares on the fight with Santa Cruz.
If Mares cant land the rematch with Santa Cruz, there are other options in the stacked and talented featherweight division.
“If I can’t get Leo for the next fight, I want Frampton too. And if not Frampton, I want Oscar Valdez, if it’s not Oscar Valdez, any world champion out there,” Mares said.
Not looking past Gutierrez, Mares is focused on the task at hand.
“Nothing’s for sure in boxing, to be honest. I’m just looking forward to getting in the ring. I got Gutierrez now. That’s the guy I’m fighting, that’s the guy I’m focused on,” Mares said.
Mares vs. Gutierrez will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight as Mares attempts to defend his title for the first time.
“In this fight with Gutierrez, we plan on doing like we did with Cuellar. I’m looking forward to this fight, and may the best man win,” Mares concluded.
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