Posts Tagged ‘Abner Mares’

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Photo Credit: Jeandra LeBeauf/BadCulture.net

LOS ANGELES, CA — Former titlists Abner Mares and Victor Ortiz  held a media workout at the Del Mares Gym ahead of their December 13 Showtime fights. Both are competing in showcase bouts on the Khan-Alexander undercard with Mares taking on Jose Ramirez (25-4, 15 KOs), and Ortiz facing Manuel Perez (22-10, 4 KOs). As you’ll note from the pictures, Ortiz’s physical condition is top-notch. His mental and emotional focus, especially coming off being crushed in January by Luis Collazo, is the big question mark.

I came to fight, not run a marathon. You win a fight by hitting, not running. — CANELO

I was controlling all the rounds and made him look bad in front of his fans. — LARA

Canelo Alvarez vs Erislandy Lara

 Photo Credits: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy, Esther Lin/Showtime

LAS VEGAS — Robbery! Running! These were among the buzzwords in boxing circles with Canelo Alvarez winning a disputed split decision over Erislandy Lara last night at the MGM Grand. The main event, while intriguing from a scoring and tactical standpoint due to Lara’s keep-away strategy and Canelo’s struggles to find consistent offense, is probably one Showtime has no interest in replaying despite the sketchy scoring from judge Levi Martinez, whose 117-111 verdict for Canelo was the deciding vote. As Erislandy Lara’s team no doubt prepares to flood the boxing media this coming week with interviews calling for a scoring investigation, I argue that Lara’s criticism needs to begin no further than with himself and the tactics he employed.

 

LARA’S GOOD START, POOR MIDDLE AND DECENT FINISH: Lara jumped out the gate using every inch of the ring to create a significant gulf between himself and Alvarez. Wary of Lara’s left hand accuracy, Canelo would only unleash blows when he felt Lara was corned. That allowed the Cuban to land the best punches of the early rounds via right jabs and hard straight lefts. Canelo found success in the second and fourth rounds with hard body shots. Weighing of 170 pounds, Canelo was able to use to these shots to push Lara into retreat the few times the fight went inside.

After six, I had it even on my card. Then the problems started on Lara’s end. Whether it was due to the cut he suffered over his right eye in the seventh, or just straight coasting, Lara began to focus more on movement than punching. To his credit, Lara was still able to make Canelo miss on his biggest shots upstairs, but the most meaningful punches were coming courtesy of Canelo’s body shots. At times, you could see Lara visibly drop his hands to regroup after they landed. This went on from rounds 7-9, and you can add the sixth as a possible Canelo round due to Lara spending more time complaining to the ref about low blows than actually looking to counter Canelo’s punches.

Lara did finally get back on track in the 10th by landing some clean left hands upstairs and moving enough to prevent Canelo’s body work. The 11th was close, as Canelo got some traction back with isolated body shots, and the 12th was punctuated by a closing Lara combination that stopped Canelo in his tracks.

My final score was 115-113 Canelo. One judge agreed, and the other had it reversed for Lara. The deciding score of 117-111, while very poor, reflected the assumption we all had going in that at least one judge would give Canelo the benefit of the doubt in every close round.

 

KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT: This performance should be extremely disappointing if you’re a Lara fan. After how he was robbed several years ago against Paul Williams (in New Jersey, no less), Lara should have come into this fight highly cognizant that the Las Vegas judges would do him no favors. Instead, he fought like he was the favorite when just a few more well-placed counter shots could have swung those quiet middle rounds in his favor. Vegas, and American judges overall, are known for favoring aggression in close rounds. How this never dawned on Lara’s camp is anyone’s guess.

 

WILL LARA LEARN?: I’m in agreement that Levi Martinez’s score was too wide in Canelo’s favor. However, the robbery talk may end up being a detriment to Lara, who’ll believe he needs to make no adjustments to his style going forward. For all his talk about the Cuban School of fighting, he may want to remember that even a guy like Guillermo Rigondeaux consistently makes an opponent pay for missed shots. The countering and varied offense was missing from Lara’s game last night.

 

MAYWEATHER IN PERSPECTIVE: Erislandy Lara is a very good boxer. With that said, this fight drives home how dynamic and talented Floyd Mayweather truly is. In his Canelo fight, Mayweather was able to counter in the pocket, nullify Canelo’s body shots, move when needed, and have the young redhead utterly confused. Lara failed to have any of that offensive or defensive creativity and failed to adjust tactics. It was especially apparent on offense with Lara throwing a minimal amount of body shots and repetitive 1-2s.

Lara now goes to the back of the line and assuredly off pay-per-view for the immediate future. Canelo still has a potential money fight against Miguel Cotto on the horizon.

 

JUANMA FALLS FOR THE LAST TIME: Juan Manuel Lopez was in familiar territory against Francisco Vargas when he found himself dropped and hurt in the third round. He had been hurt in the previous round and decided to go to war in hopes of replicating the thrilling comeback we saw in his last bout against Daniel Ponce de Leon. Unfortunately for JuanMa, the youth and strength of Vargas had him beating Lopez to the punch in every brutal exchange. The end was fitting for a proud but finished former champion. He got through the round on his feet and throwing haymakers, but his corner saw the inevitable and pulled him from further punishment. Although only 31 years old, JuanMa should strongly consider hanging up the gloves.

 

HERRERA KEEPS MOMENTUM WITH MAJORITY DECISION OVER PEREZ: Mauricio Herrera keep his name in the title picture at 140 with a majority decision (114-114, 116-112 twice) over Johan Perez. Herrera got the job done with an unrelenting body attack coupled with counter overhand rights that destroyed Perez’s rhythm. The draw score was a stretch from my viewpoint, but Perez showed a lot of heart and won rounds on sheer activity. The win makes Herrera the interim WBA junior welterweight champ. Don’t hold your breath for a Danny Garcia rematch since Garcia will likely face Lamont Peterson after “Swift” gets a soft touch against Rod Salka next month.

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ABNER MARES RETURNS WITH UD WIN: It wasn’t pretty, but Abner Mares is back in the win column after 11 months with a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo. This wasn’t the Mares we’re accustomed to — the vicious aggression was noticeably absent (except a brief sequence of in-fighting when Mares was cut early on). Oquendo was game, but Mares’ class allowed him to simply outbox him from mid-range and clinch when needed. The crowd booed lustily, and now many are already blaming Mares’ new coach, Virgil Hunter, for attempting to turn Mares into a “miniature Andre Ward.”

I wouldn’t go that far at this stage. Mares is coming off a devastating first round KO and nearly a one-year layoff, so let’s give him at least two more fights to get acclimated.

Canelo and Lara

LAS VEGAS — Check out the weigh-in for junior middleweight clash between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara live from the MGM Grand. The entire weigh-in event will be streamed in its entirety starting at 6 p.m. ET with an expected run time to 6:45 p.m. ET. The pay-per-view airs July 12 via Showtime starting at 9 p.m.

CANELO-LARA-ARRIVE

Photo Credits: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy, Esther Lin/Showtime

LAS VEGAS — Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Abner Mares, Jonathan Oquendo, Juan Manuel Lopez and Mauricio Herrera officially kicked off fight week festivities for the July 12 “Honor & Glory” event with their “grand arrivals” yesterday at the MGM Grand. In addition, the fighters gave their thoughts on their final preparation for the card.

Tickets are still available ($50-$750) through www.mgmgrand.com and www.ticketmaster.com

Canelo Alvarez

CANELO ALVAREZ

Erislandy Lara insulted me and my country. He insulted my ability to box, and I take that seriously. This is more than just a fight for me. On Saturday, I’m not only fighting for my honor, I’m fighting for the pride of my country.

We’re ready to fight and I’m so happy to see all these people anxious for the day to finally arrive.

The fans are my motivation to keep winning and competing at a high level.

There’s a lot more of my story to be written so I am completely focused on Saturday night.

Lara can get motivated however he wants, talking or not. The best man will win on Saturday.

This fight will give me personal satisfaction. It’s about fighting the best and beating the best. The media and the fans know that this is a dangerous fight and them knowing that will make my win that much better.   It’s a personal satisfaction to be fighting the best and beating the best.

 

 CANELO-LARA-ARRIVE

ERISLANDY LARA

When I arrived to the United States from Cuba, times were tough. I’ve built what I have from nothing. I take pride in the opportunities that this country has given me. And I’m not about to let this one go by.

On Saturday I will trudge through the doors that my boxing skills have opened up for me and the world will know who I am.  

I feel very special to be here right now. I don’t feel any pressure because I am ready to fight.

They can say what they want Canelo is Canelo. I’m ready to fight because I believe the best should fight the best.

Right now Canelo is my enemy and this is war now.

I trust my trainer Ronnie Shields. He knows exactly what he is doing. Ronnie is the best trainer that I have ever had. I had great trainers as an amateur, but Ronnie is the best professionally.

I’m fighting for my family, to put food on the table for them. No one can take that away from me.

 

 Abner Mares and Jonathan Oquendo

ABNER MARES

This fight is no walk in the park. Jonathan is a warrior and that’s why I trained very hard. I’m here to make a statement.

The Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry lets you know this is going to be a great fight.

I’m glad he has the mentality of the knockout, but on Saturday it is going to be my night in the ring.

 

 

JONATHAN OQUENDO 

I’m not going to lie; I have a lot of respect for Abner Mares, but don’t let that fool you. I don’t feel any pressure, he’s a great champ but there will be blood in the ring on Saturday, and it won’t be mine.

We have great fighters from Puerto Rico and this is for those fans who will see something great Saturday.

The knockouts come naturally to me; if it presents itself I will definitely knock him out.

 

 Lopez-Vargas-ARRIVE

JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ

I feel good and very confident. I’m simply a better fighter. Come Saturday night, Puerto Rico will school Mexico. Vargas better watch out.

Everything I did in the gym takes the pressure away and makes my confidence rise.

We’ve got two great countries, Puerto Rico and Mexico battling it out and I just want to prove Puerto Ricans can fight.

 

FRANCISCO VARGAS

I’m ready for war, Juanma better be ready to fight a true Mexican warrior.

I don’t feel any pressure, that stuff just motivates me.

I’m glad to have all my countrymen here and we will give them all a war.

 

Herrera-Perez-ARRIVE

JOHAN PEREZ

I know what I have in front of me. Mauricio is a tough, aggressive fighter and we’re going to give a great fight.

Make sure you don’t miss my fight Saturday. I’m going to be his problem, not Danny Garcia.

 

 

MAURICIO HERRERA

I’m coming off of a controversial loss, and I’m not about to let that happen again. I’m going to come out victorious on Saturday night and no judge will think otherwise.

We’re going to go through Johan first before worrying about another chance at Danny Garcia.

Johan is the guy in front me and I’ll show all of you a great match on Saturday.

 

 CANELO-LARA-ARRIVE

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President and Founder of Golden Boy Promotions

Fights like these are all for the fans, that’s why we’re in this business. The match-up between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara is going to be explosive and everyone in attendance and watching on television will witness the heart and will of two true champions.

When the final bell sounds on Saturday night, there will not only be a winner in the ring but the fight fans will walk away the winners as well because they will have seen boxing at it’s best.

Make sure you get there early for fireworks in the ring.

Top to bottom, this card is going to be explosive.

 

Maidana_Broner_knockdown1

One of the best aspects of boxing in 2013 was the sheer amount of upsets. And it wasn’t debatable decisions — most of these fights saw the favorites getting destroyed in ruthless fashion. Below represents a few of the moments that keep Sweet Science observers abuzz and on their toes when it came to predictions.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Usually, most lists focus on the men. However, the ladies posted two huge upsets in 2013.

Silva_Knight

IBETH SILVA UD10 AVA KNIGHT 10/26/13

#1 ranked light flyweight Ava Knight hadn’t lost since 2009. It sure wasn’t expected that she’d fall to Ibeth Silva while making her first challenge for the WBC light flyweight title. The entertaining scrap saw the smaller and stronger Silva working the body and taking over with the inside exchanges down the stretch.

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Gabriel_Castillo

OXANDIA CASTILLO TKO2 HANNA GABRIEL 2/28/13

If Wonder Woman was real, she’d probably have a body like Hanna Gabriel. The Black Amazon had built a devoted following courtesy of her beauty and four-year, five fight KO streak. Earlier this year, the largely unknown 19-year-old Oxandia Castillo was expected to be in over her head. Instead, she simply ran through the more experienced Gabriel in two rounds. The upset win allowed her to jump into a light middleweight unification match against Cecilia Braekhus.

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Abraham

10. ROBERT STIEGLITZ TKO4 ARTHUR ABRAHAM 3/23/13

Abraham managed to take a unanimous decision over Stieglitz in 2012. This time, Stieglitz jumped on him from the opening round and never stopped throwing punches. Abraham’s eye was closed in short order and his will broken by the fourth. Stieglitz will be looking to end Abraham’s career when they complete the trilogy on March 1.

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Estrada_Viloria

9. JUAN ESTRADA SD12 BRIAN VILORIA 4/6/13

Viloria had been the man at flyweight the last few years. In this fight, it was Estrada who was the boxer-puncher who gave Viloria a boxing lesson. Viloria took a bit of a hiding in the later rounds, but hung tough. One of those “split decison in name only” bouts, as Estrada was the clear winner.

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Brinson_Melendez

8. NICK BRINSON UD10 JORGE MELENDEZ 6/7/13

Melendez was the favorite but Brinson, fueled by being in front of his hometown fans, survived a wild 4th round to pull this one out. Also a “Round of the Year” contender in the three minutes below. A fun brawl.

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Sturm_Soliman_weighin

7. SAM SOLIMAN UD12 FELIX STURM (LATER CHANGED TO A NO CONTEST) 2/1/13

It was shocking how the 40-year-old Sam Soliman was able to outwork and outbox former champion Felix Sturm. Then we found out Soliman tested positive for an illegal stimulant, which shouldn’t be too surprising these days. Although the bout was rightly changed to a No-Contest, this still makes the list for how surprising it was when it went down.

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Price_Thompson_KO

6. TONY THOMPSON TKO2 DAVID PRICE I 2/23/13

Tony Thompson kicked off his strong 2013 with this surprise KO over previously undefeated David Price. Few saw this one coming.

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Leapai_Boytsov

5. ALEX LEAPAI UD10 DENIS BOYTSOV 11/23/13

The Germans always “look after” their fighters on the scorecards, so that tells you how badly previously undefeated Denis Boytsov lost this fight by unanimous decision (90-98, 92-96 twice). Boytsov has been a pro since 2004 and the most notable names on his resume are past prime versions of Darnell Wilson and Dominick Guinn. Leapai’s most notable in-ring moment before this was getting KO’d by Kevin Johnson last year, so this was considered another routine easy touch for Boytsov. It was a great, feel-good moment to see the emotional Leapai getting his just due.

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07 Porter vs Alexande IMG_3180

4. SHAWN PORTER UD12 DEVON ALEXANDER 12/7/13

After watching Shawn Porter’s relentless inside game and fast hands in beating Julio Diaz in their rematch, I backed the welterweight upstart to defeat Devon Alexander. Using the Tim Bradley bleuprint, Porter bullied, roughed up and wore out Alexander over the course of the fight. A lot of people didn’t think Porter had the experience. He didn’t need it because he had the right mentality to get the job done.

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Thompson_Price

3. TONY THOMPSON TKO5 DAVID PRICE 7/6/13

Thompson proved the first fight was no fluke punch in rising from a knockdown to beat down Price to a fifth round stoppage. Credit to Price for taking the rematch, but the wily vet was too smart and durable for him.

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BronerMaidana_Hoganphotos

2. MARCOS MAIDANA UD12 ADRIEN BRONER 12/14/13

Don’t count your pay-per-view revenue before it hatches. While Broner was focused on becoming the next Mayweather, he forgot that one of Floyd’s major tenets is not overlooking any opponent. Maidana gave him a vicious and humbling in-ring experience. We await to see if Broner can bounce back and how far Maidana can go in 2014.

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Mares_Gonzalez

1. JHONNY GONZALEZ TKO1 ABNER MARES 8/24/13

Just a week before this bout, Richard Schaefer proclaimed that Mares was the #2 Pound 4 Pound fighter in the world behind Mayweather. Mares built his credentials by winning Shopwtime’s bantamweight tournament and picking up the WBC featherweight crown by KO’ing Daniel Ponce de Leon.

Gonzalez is a highly-respected vet, but his best years were considered behind him after getting dropped a losing a technical decision to Ponce de Leon. Clearly the most shocking finish of any high-profile fight of 2013, Gonzalez began Mares’ downfall with one well-placed left hook in the very first round.

 

There’s nothing like a good come from behind victory. In the case of these fighters, it wasn’t just one showing. It was a year’s worth of moves in and out of the ring that erased their 2012 struggles and made them sought after names for 2014. Whether it came in the guise of a Fight of the Year, or simply an efficient beating of a decent contender, these are the fighters who recaptured your imagination in 2013.

 

 

Mares_Gonzalez

5. JHONNY GONZALEZ, 55-8 (47 KOs)

3-0 (2 KOs) in 2013

Became the first man to defeat Abner Mares (TKO1)

Became a two-time featherweight champion

Gonzalez was written off after getting beat down by Daniel Ponce de Leon in route to losing a technical decision and his WBC featherweight title. But Gonzalez persevered, scoring two victories over fringe contenders Eusebio Osejo and Akihiko Katagiri to land a shot at the new champion, Abner Mares. Gonzalez was supposed to play the role of a solid, older challenger who gets overwhelmed by a young, surging champion.

Gonzalez had other plans. With a left hook that shocked Abner Mares and the boxing world, Gonzalez blew through his young opponent and immediately returned to the forefront of the division. He’ll get the chance to prove it was no fluke when he rematches Mares on February 15.

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jameskirkland

4. JAMES KIRKLAND, 32-1 (28 KOs)

1-0 (1 KO)

Returned to original trainer Ann Wolfe

Signed with 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions

The Mandingo Warrior didn’t return to title contention or even beat a Top 10 junior middleweight for his lone 2013 fight, but James Kirkland did put the demand for him back in the mouth of every boxing fan. When HBO and Showtime went head to head on December 7, Kirkland’s battle with Glen Tapia upstaged every other bout. He reminded fans of his ruthless aggression, put the 154 division back on notice, and looked as powerful (and reckless) as he had before being shelved due to legal issues with former promoter Golden Boy.

Now with 50 Cent’s SMS outfit and HBO, Kirkland is rumored to be in the running to land his first title shot, a showdown with WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin.

Cotto_Rodriguez

3. MIGUEL COTTO, 38-4, (31 KOs)

1-0 (1 KO)

Hired Freddie Roach

Offered $8 million to face Canelo Alvarez on Showtime pay-per-view

Oftered over $10 million to face Sergio Martinez on HBO pay-per-view 

2012 was rough year for Miguel Cotto. Sure, he made excellent money and got a rep boost from the boxing community for his competitive performance against Floyd Mayweather. Still, a loss is a loss, and Cotto was held winless in that year, also dropping a decision in Madison Square Garden to Austin Trout. After that fight, a visibly upset Cotto barked on Jim Gray before storming out the ring.

Cotto regrouped this year partly by simply not rushing back into the ring and reaping the benefits of the cold war between HBO/Top Rank and Showtime/Golden Boy. With Cotto having history with both networks and promotional companies, his name value became highly sought after.  Reps for Canelo Alvarez and Sergio Martinez have spent the last few months attempting to woo Cotto with offers of $8 million (Canelo) and $10-15 million (Martinez).

Cotto ended up choosing HBO to showcase his new partnership with Freddie Roach. The result was a third-round annihilation of Delvin Rodriguez, which seemed to create even more of a signing frenzy between Top Rank and Golden Boy. As of now, Top Rank and HBO are back in the lead. Cotto enjoys an autonomy over his career better than any other active fighter not named Floyd Mayweather.

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Felix_Sturm

2. FELIX STURM, 39-3-2, 18 KOs

2-0 (1 KO) with 1 No Contest

Defeated Darren Barker to win the IBF middleweight title (3rd title reign)

Call Felix Sturm what you will — just make sure you include “three-time middleweight champion” in the description. After holding the WBA middleweight crown for five years and making over 10 title defenses, Sturm’s time at the top seemed to be at an end just 15 months ago. He lost a unification bout with IBF titlist Daniel Geale in September 2012. In February, Sturm suffered a huge upset to old veteran Sam Soliman.

Luckily for Sturm, Soliman was later found to have taken the illegal stimulant methylsynephrine, changing that defeat to a No-Contest. Sturm wasted no time getting back in the ring, scoring a fourth round TKO over Predrag Radosevic. That earned Sturm a shot with Geale-conqueror and newly crowned IBF champ Darren Barker.

Showing surprising power and capitalizing on a severe injury to Barker’s right hip, Sturm scored a quick second round knockout for his third middleweight title reign.

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Timothy-Bradley

1. TIMOTHY BRADLEY, 31-0, (12 KOs)

2-0

Won Fight of the Year contender over Ruslan Provodnikov

Defeated Juan Manuel Marquez by split decision

Timothy Bradley came into 2013 depressed and from his own words, damn near suicidal. His biggest win, a highly controversial decision win over Manny Pacquiao, was declared a robbery and Bradley became the unfair whipping boy for judging ineptitude.

Personally hurt by the criticism of his fighting style, he initially fought a slugging war with Ruslan Provodnikov before boxing enough in spots to escape with a narrow decision win and a bad concussion gift from Provodnikov. Instead of taking the rest of the year off (Bradley admitted he slurred his words for months after the fight), he jumped back in the ring with Pacquiao-conqueror Juan Manuel Marquez, outboxing the Mexican legend to cap his best year as a professional.

Tim Bradley ended 2012 the butt of jokes and viewed as a paper champion. He goes into 2014 now highly respected as a warrior and a technician.

Mares_Gonzalez

Golden Boy Promotions has confirmed that Jhonny Gonzalez’s first WBC featherweight title defense will be a February 15 rematch against Abner Mares at LA’s Staples Center.

Their first bout, held on August 24 at the StubHub Center in Carson, produced boxing’s premier 2013 upset with Gonzalez scoring two big knockdowns off left hooks for a devastating first round TKO.

“Abner Mares gave me my shot and now I’m giving him his,” said Gonzalez in a statement.  “I respect what he’s done in the ring and the heart he shows every time he fights, but I worked too hard for this to give it up now.  I will keep my title on February 15.”

The loss was Mares’ first pro defeat (26-1, 14 KOs) and came just as the young champion was being considered by many observers as a Top 5 Pound 4 Pound fighter.

“I’d like to thank Jhonny Gonzalez for this opportunity. It will be an honor to fight him a second time,” stated Mares.  “August 24 was his night and I take nothing away from him, but February 15 will be my night and I’m going to get my title back.”

Tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. PT via www.AXS.com and the Staples Center Box Office.

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This is the most intriguing fight of early 2014. Gonzalez undoubtedly has to be the favorite with how easily he hurt and disposed of Mares back in August. Gonzalez will come in with the confidence of knowing one punch can end it. On the other hand, Gonzalez is the epitome of a streaky fighter and may show up flat after the high of the first fight. Elite fighters make adjustments, so we’ll see if this was a just a bump in the road or early proof that the featherweight jump is a little too much for Mares.