Abner Mares is tentatively set to return on August 25, facing Christian Esquivel in Mexico. (Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
Reports out of Mexico are that WBC super bantamweight titlist Abner Mares will return on August 25 in Puebla, likely against Christian Esquivel. Mares and Golden Boy have wanted to take the former Olympian to Mexico for a fight for some months now, and that was at one point the working plan for Mares' last bout, which wound up in El Paso, where he routed Eric Morel.
The choice of Esquivel as an opponent -- which isn't official, but is for now the only name mentioned -- is interesting. There are good things to say about the matchup, chief among them that it would probably be a good action fight. Esquivel (25-3, 18 KO) isn't boring, and had a good fight last November in Tokyo against Shinsuke Yamanaka. Yamanaka won via 11th round TKO to claim the vacant WBC bantamweight belt, which had been given up by Nonito Donaire.
I don't think it's a bad fight, really -- it's not a Nathan Cleverly special or anything -- but it is the second straight fight that Mares would have at super bantamweight against a guy who'd been campaigning at bantamweight. There is a lot of talent at 122, and though Donaire and Rigondeaux are Top Rank guys and unlikely opponents, plenty of quality foes are out there who aren't promoted by Bob Arum.
I also believe it's better than the Morel fight, so maybe that's why I'm not too up in arms about it.
Whether or not the fight is televised by Showtime isn't yet known. Mares has been a featured Showtime player, and for good reason, as he's a quality young fighter and fun to watch. American networks are sometimes loathe to go to Mexico for fights, since production becomes an issue.
Anyway, we'll see. I don't love or hate the fight, I'm just sort of indifferent to it. It's an OK matchup but not significant other than it involves Abner Mares, a top fighter. I'll be tuned in if it happens, but not if it's head-to-head with HBO's fight that night, a middleweight title clash between Dmitry Pirog and Gennady Golovkin.