Abner Mares is holding off making his own title defense of his WBA World featherweight belt by waiting on the winner of the January 28th rematch between WBA Super World featherweight champion Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) and Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs). The two fighters are facing each other at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mares wants to fight the winner of that match. Mares just recently won his WBA title this month in defeating champion Jesus Cuellar by a 12 round split decision in a close and very competitive fight. The difference between the two fighters was the hand speed of the 31-year-old Mares. He was a lot quicker than the slugger Cuellar, who couldn’t use his size and power to beat Mares into the canvas like he’d done to so many of his other opponents.
Mares did a fantastic job against Cuellar for a fighter coming off of a year and a half layoff from boxing. Mares hadn’t fought since his 12 round decision defeat at the hands of Santa Cruz in 2015.
The ultimate decision whether Mares fights the Frampton-Santa Cruz winner rests with Mares’ manager Al Haymon. If he gives Mares permission to take on the winner of that fight, then it’s going to happen. The downside of Mares waiting on the winner of that fight is that he will probably need to wait until May before he can face one of them. Fighting Santa Cruz a second time might not be the smartest move in the world for Mares, because he seemed to dominate him pretty easily last year.
Santa Cruz was the better fighter on the inside and the outside. I don’t think anything changes in a rematch. Mares might be better against Frampton, because he’s shorter than Santa Cruz, and he emphasizes his boxing skills and speed more than he does with his power game. Mares would still be the faster guy, and he’s good at beating opponents that rely on tricks the way that Frampton does.
Mares said this to RingTV.com about wanting to fight the winner of the Frampton vs. Santa Cruz II rematch:
“I could get a match as early as March of April,” Mares said. “But then again, if I wanted the winner of Frampton and Leo, I would have to wait a little more, maybe until May because that fight is like three weeks from now. I think it makes more than sense, getting the winner of that — against Leo would be a tremendous rematch.”