Sunday, March 26, 2023  |



Alan’s Observations: Mares’ road to redemption


Since the San Andreas Fault has shifted a few inches in southern California thanks to the recent boxing disturbance at the StubHub Center in Carson, we wonder, what now for Abner Mares?

Jhonny Gonzales hit him left a left hook cleaner than a nun’s conscience. This was set up, I believe, by a hard right hand earlier which had Mares moving to his right, which turned out to be wrong.

Before his stunning first-round knockout loss to Gonzales, Mares was considered an elite among elites in boxing. Last week, Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya told us he considered Mares to be among the top three pound for pound in the world. De La Hoya even said Mares reminded him of someone with whom Oscar was very familiar, himself.

So, going through the memory banks, there was one stunning knockdown in De La Hoya’s career he probably remembers, but not many other folks do. It was almost more shocking than Gonzales’ blowout of Mares.

It was May 27, 1994 at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Oscar was two years removed from his gold medal performance in Barcelona, Spain, and he was the absolute future of boxing on the rise. He was 12-0 and had just won the WBO 130-pound title from Denmark’s Jimmi Bredahl at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in March.

Oscar’s opponent was Italy’s Giorgio Campanella. He was an Italian and European amateur champion with great skills and pedigree. He eventually fought 38 professional bouts with a record of 31 wins (24 KOs), 6 losses and 1 draw. This guy was no slouch, but nobody really knew that. We were all there to witness another De La Hoya boxing exhibition and his continued rise into the stratosphere. But Campanella almost shot his star out of the sky.

In the first round, Campanella knocked Oscar down with a left hook to the chin. The arena floor literally shook. I looked across the ring and saw Bob Arum turn almost ashen white. My lord! Millions of dollars in potential revenue and promotional dreams were on the canvas.

But not to worry, Oscar rallied and stopped Campanella in three. And all was right again in the boxing world.

Which leads us to Mares, how does he rally?

His situation isn’t funny, but it does remind me of one of my favorite jokes from the late great comedian Rodney Dangerfield. In his routines, Rodney was always complaining about what a terrible cook his wife was. He said it was “so bad,” he sneaked the food to his dog when his wife wasn’t looking. A while later, Rodney says he saw the dog “licking his ass.” Why? “To get the taste out of his mouth.”

Well, that’s what Mares has got to do – get the taste of a nasty defeat out of his mouth. And he should do it as soon as possible.

Golden Boy Promotions has a fight coming up Nov. 9 between Adrien Broner and Marcos Maidana. (It’s not official as of this writing, but that bout is, as “done a deal” as a ten-minute boiled egg.) Mares needs to be on that card.

Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion. There are many variables, as always in such a situation. My educated guess is that Mares wants a rematch, oh, yesterday. But that won’t be his call will it?

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has more moves than a “three card monte” dealer. And he’s great at shuffling.

Schaefer says his company has “three” options on Gonzales.

I am guessing Golden Boy still wants the dream Los Angeles match up, potentially at Staples Center, between Mares and Leo Santa Cruz, who destroyed Victor Terrazas in three rounds to win the WBC Super Bantamweight title. So Santa Cruz held up his end of the deal. But, Mares is out there clearing the Long Beach fog from his head.

My other guess is that Gonzales wants to hold on to the belt for a while for a couple of paydays before he meets Mares again, which he will eventually. This leads us to the bottom line, money. The almighty dollar will dictate how soon Gonzales agrees to face Mares again. Those extra “paydays” may not add up to the numbers the rematch will dictate.

Business will take care of itself. But right now, Mares has to take care of himself. And there’s only one way to do that. Lace ’em up and tape ’em up, as soon as possible. It’s the only way to deal with the aftershocks.



Read some of Alan’s other observations:

Don’t give up on Mayweather-Pacquiao

The Tyson show continues

Trainer’s Corner

“The One” tour and what it means


Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Alan Massengale is an Emmy award-winning sports caster, who has done hundreds broadcasts for boxing, his favorite sport. Follow him on Twitter @AlanMassengale1