Featherweights lay it all on the line as three-weight division champion Abner Mares challenges 126-pound titleholder Jesus Cuellar, broadcasted live from the Galen Center in southern California, on Showtime. Abner finds himself in a make-or-break situation for the first time of an impressive career. Cuellar gets a chance to put a stamp on the resume and raise his profile significantly ensuring even bigger fights at featherweight or junior lightweight in the near future.
Abner Mares never ran from a challenge, and from his first world title shot, set the tone as a true professional at the bantamweight division. From 2010 to 2013, excluding Carl Froch, no one in the world fought a more challenging schedule full of quality opponents then Abner Mares. The list includes the likes of Yohnny Perez, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko (twice), Anselmo Moreno, & Ponce De Leon all in a string of entertaining brawls.
Johnny Gonzalez’s left hook put an abrupt halt to Abner’s upward trajectory on an August night in the summer of 2013. That card was supposed to be a prelude to help promote a major fight in the Los Angeles area between Mares and Leo Santa Cruz. The grizzled-vet caught Mares cold in the first round with a left hook disguised as a body shot, Gonzalez turned the punch into a head shot that landed right on the button.
Mares took some time off eventually managed to get his feet back underneath him to rebuild a once promising career. Just over two years later, Abner found himself back in the spotlight once again against Leo Santa Cruz in August 2015 on ESPN. Mares fought admirably in a losing effort in a spirited fight that drew over 13,000 fans to the Staples Center, no small feat considering it was headlined by 126-pounders.
Forced to rebuild yet again, Abner found comfort in matching up with top-flight trainer Robert Garcia in Oxnard, CA. Mares and Cuellar were all set to fight in June as the co-feature to Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter on CBS. Mares failed a very strict eye-test from the New York athletic commission causing the bout to be postponed. Now together for three separate training camps, Mares and Garcia are focused on rejuvenating the featherweight’s status in the sport.