Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |


Mares wants to wait to face winner of Frampton-Santa Cruz


Abner Mares showed little rust when he out-boxed Jesus Cuellar on Dec. 10 to become a four-time champion after more than a year on the sideline.

Mares, 31, doesn’t want to wait that long to get back into the ring. But he is willing to postpone his return until around May to face the winner of Carl Frampton’s featherweight title defense against Leo Santa Cruz on Jan. 28 for the WBA strap.

Mares (30-2-1, 15 knockouts) is picking Frampton to win again, and he made it clear he’s willing to travel to Northern Ireland, where Frampton is from, to make the fight a reality. While Mares said advisor Al Haymon has the final say on when he competes, he said it made sense for him to put off his return to face the winner of Frampton-Santa Cruz, nearly five months from now. Mares will be ringside for their fight on Jan. 28, he said.

“I could get a match as early as March of April,” Mares told RingTV.com on Monday. “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, a fight-of-the year type fight. And Frampton would be the same case. So definitely waiting on the winner of that (makes sense), but my manager, he’s the one in charge, my advisor Al Haymon. So, whatever he says. If he wants me to fight maybe once before that, I’m all for it. I just have to stay ready.”

Mares, who lost a majority decision to Santa Cruz in 2015, is picking Frampton to win again on Jan. 28. Mares believes Frampton’s versatility will again be too much for Santa Cruz’s come-forward, swarming style. Frampton won a majority decision against Santa Cruz on July 30 at Barclays Center.

“The first fight was very close,” Mares said. “But I’m still sticking with Frampton because I think he has a little bit more ability. I think he can do a little more in the ring. Leo, I think, is just that one type of style. I don’t think he can change much coming into this next fight. Obviously, maybe a little more aggression but other than that, I think Frampton has his number.”

Mares is already envisioning what a fight between him and Frampton would look like and that includes fighting in Frampton’s backyard. “If Frampton wins, it would be an interesting fight because he’s a really versatile type of fighter,” Mares said. “He knows how to change it up, really smart. And he’s fun to watch. And I think you can say the same thing about me. So honestly, it excites me. Even if I have to fly out to where he’s from, to make it a big fight over there, let’s do it. I’m all for it.”