Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares slated to meet again Oct. 7

Fighters Network

Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares are going to mix it up one more time.

The rematch of their thrilling 2015 featherweight title bout is slated to take place October 7 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, an industry source told, though no contracts have been signed. The Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire first reported the development.

Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG, the company that owns Staples Center and StubHub Center, worked out an arrangement between competing promoters. Both Santa Cruz-Mares 2 and HBO’s 115-pound tripleheader topped by the rematch between Wisaksil Wangek and Roman Gonzalez were jockeying for the September 9 date in L.A.

Tom Loeffler of K2 considered bringing the HBO show to Las Vegas to package it with Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin the following week, but the preference was always to hold the show in California. Problem solved — Wangek-Gonzalez will take place September 9 at StubHub Center.

“For the good of the sport and for the benefit of boxing fans,” Beckerman told the L.A. Times, “whether they’re viewing it at home or in person at the venue, I approached both promoters and worked it out with them to coordinate these two great events.

” … “Each [promoter] now has a clean night with separation [from the other event], and the fans can watch both.”

Santa Cruz edged Mares via decision to claim the 126-pound title, and then went on split a duo of action fights with Carl Frampton, with the Mexican prevailing in the return bout in January. Santa Cruz also knocked out Kiko Martinez in his first defense.

Mares (30-2-1, KOs) has had only one fight in the same time Santa Cruz fought thrice. The 31-year-old hooked up with trainer Robert Garcia and outpointed Jesus Cuellar in December. Mares looked like a rejuvenated fighter, showing off a new style more predicated on movement and boxing, and less reliant on sheer pressure.

The rematch figures to be ultra competitive once again, and now, thankfully, boxing fans won’t have to choose which event to watch.


Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger