Abner Mares vs Anselmo Moreno: BLH staff picks and predictions

Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Abner Mares defends the WBC super bantamweight title tomorrow night against Anselmo Moreno. Who walks out with the belt, and will there be controversy?

Ryan Bivins

Anselmo Moreno isn't the biggest puncher and Mares is a pretty durable guy so I doubt there will be a stoppage. However there will indeed be a schooling. Mares is a good fighter and all, but this is just a bad style matchup for him. He's going to eat jabs all night long as he aimlessly follows Moreno around. Expect a low end version of Pernell Whitaker-Julio Cesar Chavez. Mares, like Chavez, is a boxer puncher. He applies pressure but is by no means a swarmer willing to sacrifice defense just to immobilize his opponent (like a Henry Armstrong for instance). As long as Moreno is given freedom to dance around the ring, Mares will not catch up to him. He has to get Moreno on the ropes and keep him there if he's going to stand a chance of legitimately winning.

Unfortunately the chances of robbery are indeed high as Mares holds the home turf advantage. But since the fight is in California instead of Texas I expect Moreno to walk out with a split decision victory rather than the "draw" Whitaker had to settle for. Moreno by split decision.

Scott Christ

We get a lot of good matchups in boxing, and lately have had plenty of top guys fighting other top guys, but a fight this well-matched and this risky for a promoter is still somewhat rare. Maybe I'm overstating how good this fight is, but this one has me thoroughly intrigued. Mares isn't a cash cow, but he's a house favorite at Golden Boy, and has taken advantage of Showtime being on his side and featuring his hard-fought rise to the upper echelon of the 118 and 122 pound ranks.

Mares is a tough, smart, aggressive fighter. He'll get dirty if he needs to do it, and his fights seem to largely exist on his terms. But Moreno is one of the best technicians in the world -- he's crafty, he's extremely intelligent, and he doesn't make many mistakes at all. Both of these guys have absolutely earned their way into their standings, fighting tough opposition and not being gifted gimmes along the way. It feels like fighting such consistently good opposition has to have taken something of a toll on at least one of them, and I'm going to bet that right now, at this moment, Moreno is just that bit too wise for Mares, who will make this more than competitive, but ultimately lose. I expect it will be a clear loss, something in the realm of 116-112 or a very competitive 117-111, but we're going to see a hometown card for Abner, justified by the reasoning that Moreno won't stand and trade with him. Moreno by split decision.

Tom Craze

I'm really looking forward to this one. Not only is Moreno a little better than the guys Mares has been beating - and looking pretty impressive against - but he's also markedly different. It's hard to criticise Mares too much so far - Agbeko low blows aside - but we have seen him look open in patches against Darchinyan and the first Agbeko fight. What's interesting here is how he copes with an opponent who's more polished, someone who's the better overall technician.

In short, I think this goes the distance, and goes to the wire. Moreno will, at times, look too slick for Mares, be a puzzle he can't solve, but with the early rounds given away, look for the hometown fighter to put on a late charge and tighten things right up. I'm tempted to call the mild upset, but will side with Mares to take a razor-thin and possibly controversial split or majority decision. Mares by decision.

Kory Kitchen

Wonderful matchup. I can see this fight going a few different ways, with both men having success. I know some are very high on Mares, and I like him as well, but I feel he is a little overrated. I think he is certainly talented, but he isn't invincible. Moreno will make him miss a lot, and counter him. I also feel Moreno's jab will be a big factor Saturday night. I think Mares will come on strong late with his constant pressure, but I feel Moreno will build up a big enough lead to survive. Moreno's slickness and educated jab will be the difference. Moreno by close decision.

Dave Oakes

This is a great fight, two top class boxers meeting at their primes. I feel Moreno will have a slight edge in speed as well as height and reach advantages, whereas Mares is the stronger and has the edge in punch power.

In a fight that could be so close, work-rate could play a big part, the busier fighter may be the one to catch the judges eye. I can see the fight going the distance and there being a controversial split-decision on the cards with the busier Mares edging the more accurate and technical efforts of Moreno. Mares by decision.

Final Tally: Anselmo Moreno 3, Abner Mares 2.

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