As we prepare for Saturday night's Showtime double-header featuring top bantamweight Abner Mares moving up to 122 pounds to face Eric Morel in Texas, here's a brief look at Mares' life outside the ring, via Showtime Sports:
Mares (23-0-1, 13 KO) really has one of the most interesting image issues in all of boxing right now. He really does seem like a nice young man, he's got a winning smile, he's a former Olympian, he's not cocky, he's not a braggart, but...
...then there's Mares inside the ring, which seems to clash with the image his team wants to create of him. Let's not beat around the bush: He's got a reputation as a dirty fighter. And that's not meant to slam him or give him a bad name or anything. When he sees the need or the chance, there's no doubt Mares is willing to bend the rules.
Again, that's not an insult. Some great fighters bend the rules or just break them when they need to. Bernard Hopkins, Joel Casamayor, Andre Ward, Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather -- all of those guys were/are willing to be less than a gentleman to get the job done. It doesn't mean they're bad people. Andre Ward's entire persona is that he's nice. Joe Calzaghe seems like a pretty cool guy, in my opinion. Bernard Hopkins is rough around the edges, but is probably nicer than he lets on a lot of the time. Maywaether and Casamayor...well, they can't all be winners. Casamayor seems like kind of a jerk, but that's just how Casamayor is, and it's not like he lacks friends in the sport or anything. Hell, he's buddies with Robert Guerrero, a Ward-level "nice guy." Mayweather is Mayweather. Let's not get into it.
I guess my point is there's definitely no reason to believe anything is put on. Mares seems like a nice guy. And he can be a rough, downright dirty fighter in the ring. Both of these things are true, as best I can tell. One doesn't eliminate the other.