Like many boxing fans, Abner Mares is hoping his fight with Daniel Ponce De Leon will steal the show on May 4, when the featherweights collide in the main undercard bout on the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view from the MGM Grand.
As part of an above average (at least) PPV undercard by today's standards, Mares and Ponce De Leon have been matched up in a bout that would easily have been a better headliner than anything Showtime has had on their network this year.
"It's going to be a great fight and a tough fight. It's a fight that a lot of people are telling me that it has taken a lot of guts from my side and for my team to take such a huge step. Being that it's my first fight at featherweight, and I'm going in against a great champion and the fact that he's a power-puncher. But all that I can say is that I'm here to please the crowd and I'm here to give the fans what they want to see, and that's great fights. That's why I'm taking this big step and I hope that we can steal the show that night, myself and Ponce."
Mares (25-0-1, 13 KO) has already won titles at bantamweight and super bantamweight, but at super bantamweight, he didn't really face the cream of the crop. He deserves plenty of credit for beating Anselmo Moreno, but fact is that Moreno, like Mares, is a natural bantamweight. And his other win at 122 came against Eric Morel, a flyweight who was well past his sell-by date.
That's why this is such a dangerous fight for the 27-year-old Mares, a tough and talented fighter who is moving up weight classes very quickly. Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KO) is durable, can punch, has an awkward style, and as Mares says, he's done well when in against superior boxers in Adrien Broner and Jhonny Gonzalez, beating Gonzalez last September, and getting the short end of a debated decision against Broner in 2011.
Is Mares moving up too fast? Can he deal with a physical, experienced fighter like Ponce De Leon?