Earlier this week Golden Boy Promotions’ head honcho Oscar De La Hoya mentioned during the 52nd WBC Annual Convention held this year in Las Vegas, Nevada, that he will try to put together a fight that has been talked about for the last couple of years. In a battle of Los Angeles, CA, residents De La Hoya finally wants to face three-divisional champion Abner Mares against undefeated two-divisional and current WBC super-bantamweight champion Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz. De La Hoya said it could happen as early as April or May with the most logical venue being either the Stub Hub Center in Carson, CA, or the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Mares has not been viewed the same by the boxing public since his only loss as a professional at the fists of one Jhonny Gonzalez back in August of 2013. One decisive left hook to the chin changed the trajectory of Mares’ career forever. Up to that point Mares was considered one of boxing’s up and coming brightest stars. A champion in three different divisions, bantam, super bantam and featherweight, the fight against Gonzalez was supposed to just be a pit stop to the super featherweight weight class and yet another title. Mares beat the count when he went down from that left hook but a barrage of punches moments later sent him to the canvas again which prompted referee Jack Reiss to call it a fight.
The loss plus the Mares’ actions after is what has changed his persona in the public’s eye. After claiming he wanted an immediate rematch and the fight actually made for earlier this year, Mares began to claim an injury before the fight and then went ahead and bought his contract out from his long-time manager Frank Espinoza. Mares quickly there after signed with notorious advisor Al Haymon and requested the services of trainer Virgil Hunter. Mares came back from his first loss in July of 2014 with a lackadaisical performance against Jonathan Oquendo in a ten rounder. This past Saturday night, with trainer Clemente Medina back in his corner, Mares stopped Jose “Negro” Ramirez in five in an impressive showing. Mares looked like the Abner of old, aggressive, quick and powerful.
Although known as a non-stop puncher, Santa Cruz excited the boxing world in 2012 when he fought five times in that year steamrolling over everybody except for his last fight against Alberto Guevera were he looked tired. In 2013 he scaled it back to only three performances but he captured his second world title in as many divisions with an impressive stoppage of Victor Terrazas. Since then the general consensus is that Santa Cruz has not fought up to his talent with the fans asking for unification fights with the likes of Scott Quigg or Guillermo Rigondeaux having not come to fruition.
Both men will fight beyond this proposed fight but in both of their careers there will be a before and an after. The winner most certainly would have his past transgressions forgotten while the loser might have to start a couple of steps down on the ladder. De La Hoya proposed the fight to take place at a catch weight of 124 pounds. Santa Cruz’s title will not be on the line and Mares is not a champion so more than likely no title will be on the line.