WBC super bantamweight champion Abner Mares spoke with RingTV.com about his November 10 fight with Anselmo Moreno, and rising young bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz, who stopped Eric Morel this past Saturday in Las Vegas.
Mares had good things to say about Santa Cruz, which puts him in company with just about everyone else who's been watching the ultra-determined body punching specialist rise through the ranks:
"Leo definitely has something that a lot of these other youngsters don't. I mean, he applies a lot of pressure, man, and he fight like he's still the challenger, but he's the champion. That's the kind of mentality that he has. He works every single round, throws punches in bunches, and this guy reminds me of a smaller version, physically, of an Antonio Margarito."
Mares says he does believe that his own win earlier this year over Morel "definitely" wore on the Puerto Rican veteran, which I'm sure is the case. Morel, now 36, is pretty much facing the end of his career and took a pair of world title opportunities this year knowing that (1) he'd be a big underdog in both, and (2) if he didn't, the chances might never come again.
As for the Moreno fight, Mares says he hopes that people respect the schedule he's been keeping:
"I would like to think that it says good things about me, and I would hope that the fans and the rest of the people in the sport see that. I'm trying to give everyone the fights that they want to see, and the fights that people are asking for. ... You know, it's a great fight against a great fighter, and a very, very tough fight for me. But it's just another case where I want to fight the best."
Mares, like Carl Froch, has indeed been keeping about as tough a schedule as possible. Mares jumped from prospect to serious world title player at 118 pounds when he faced Yonnhy Perez and went to a draw in 2010, and since then has fought Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko twice, Morel, and next, Anselmo Moreno, the man regarded now as the world's best bantamweight, moving up to join the fray at 122 pounds.
When Morel -- who is capable and game though past his best -- is your "easy fight" over two years in modern boxing, that's saying quite a lot about your competitive drive, I think.