I think that Abner Mares has earned a stay-busy/showcase fight. He should take the IBF mandatory against Vusi Malinga. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Vusi Malinga is eyeing a fight with Showtime Bantamweight champion, IBF champion, and WBC Silver champion Abner Mares according to Jake Donovan of Boxing Scene. Mares is coming off a pair of wins against Joseph Agbeko, even though the first fight was highly controversial because of multiple low blows from Mares. Vusi Malinga is the IBF mandatory challenger for Mares's belt and Malinga is looking to the IBF to force Mares into a fight. According to Malinga's promoter Branco Milenkovic, Malinga has tried to get fights with Yonnhy Perez, Joseph Agbeko, and Abner Mares before the Showtime Bantamweight tournament.
"We negotiated more than a year ago for a fight with Abner Mares, with the winner of the rematch between Yonnhy Perez and Joseph King Kong Agbeko. Mares and his people declined and instead took part in the bantamweight tournament. Those fights are over, and it is time for Vusi to get his title shot."
Vusi Malinga is a decent bantamweight who is best known for getting blown out of the building by Hozumi Hasegawa in the first round. Vusi got dropped three times in that first round and it honestly looked like Vusi could not deal with Hasegawa's power, which is saying something since Hasegawa only has a 36% KO ratio. I think Abner Mares would have an easy time with Malinga getting a KO rather early. This could be a good showcase/stay-busy fight and it would get the IBF mandatory out of the way as well. I would think that Showtime would probably pick up this fight on maybe an undercard or a co-feature with another bantamweight. For his part, Malinga is not afraid of Mares, and really wants to get it on echoing the sentiments of his promoter.
"The mandatory is overdue. We hope that Abner is healthy enough to return to the ring. But he had the chance to fight us and chose a different path. Now it has come back around and he has to fight us. I've waited long enough."
It's not the worst fight and it will be another chance to see the young and exciting Abner Mares in the ring. Abner has had three tough fights in a row and I wouldn't hold this fight against him. Too many things make sense in this matchup for it not to happen. What are your guys' thoughts on this potential matchup?