Abner Mares discusses win over Ponce De Leon, future ambitions

Abner Mares says his win over Daniel Ponce De Leon was his best, and talks about potential future opponents at 126 or 130.

Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel

How's it feel to be a three-time champ?

Abner Mares

It's a great feeling, man. I'm blessed, I'm happy, everything that I've been working for so long, that I've been pushing for so long, is finally paying off. People are starting to notice me now, which is good. That's the whole plan. Little by little. I've been fighting all these tough fighters, and I wasn't getting the credibility. People were still doubters. I hope that this fight did the job, that people start believing in Abner Mares, and know that I'm here to fight anyone.

Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel

How would you compare this victory compared to winning the bantamweight tournament or winning the other title?

Abner Mares

I think this one is ranked higher. Why? Because there were so many doubters. Just the fact that Abner's stepping up to a new weight class, he's a little guy, he doesn't hit, he's gonna get destroyed. I think I showed power, I showed the ability to box, speed, and I proved a lot of people wrong. That's what makes me happy. I hope they're believers now. I keep on learning from these type of fights. I don't want easy fights, I want big, hard fights, because win or lose, you learn from them.

Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel

In the back, did emotions come your way with the victory, and having to fight your friend and see Ponce like that, as well?

Abner Mares

It was hard, man. It was really hard. After the fight I went and shook his hand, I gave him a hug, and I told him, it's all business. We just leave it here. He said, yeah, don't worry. It's just hard, man. Even when I knocked him down the second time, I was just hoping that he stayed down, because it's hard to finish a friend off. He was hurt. I saw him get up, and I'm like, oh my God, I'm gonna have to finish my friend. It was hard, but it's over. It's over, thank God. I got a knockout, I got a win, and we're still good friends. We shook hands again, and I saw the wife, big hug, and back to normal.

Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel

Seeing your other fights with Agbeko, Perez, and Darchinyan, you mixed it up, and you mixed it up well and those fights were exciting. A lot of people were expecting that Abner Mares to show up, but a different Abner Mares showed up, one that boxed, used speed, used technique.

Abner Mares

Yeah, when I heard people say this could be a trilogy, this could be a war, inside of me I was, like, yeah, no. Really, because I had my plan already, which was box and be smart and use my abilities, not go to his level, which is toe-to-toe. That was his plan. Why would I go down to that? I think I did an awesome job, a tremendous job of listening to my corner. They had the perfect plan. I fell asleep in the fifth, sixth round, I wasn't throwing enough, but it comes with the relaxation. I was so poised, so relaxed in there, that I forgot I was in a fight, man. My corner had to wake me up, and say Abner, you gotta throw more. I know you're winning these rounds, but they're close, so you gotta close it down.

Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel

On one account, the stoppage, a lot of people thought it was stopped too soon. On another account, it served as a double-edged sword, it allowed you to stop throwing punches to a friend, and I think not a lot of people have really thought about that.

Abner Mares

Again, it was hard, finishing off a friend. He was on the ropes, I was throwing and throwing, and I think everything was landing. He was trying to respond, yeah, but still, every punch that I was throwing was landing. I think it was a good stoppage, and a great stoppage in that sense, to prevent me from punishing and hitting my friend.

Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel

What's in store for the future? Are we gonna hear Abner Mares four-time champion, five-time champion?

Abner Mares

Who knows, man? I'm letting my body rest for now, take a long vacation, and talk to Golden Boy Promotions and see what they have planned for me. I'm willing to go up to 130 and try my luck there as I did at 126. I gotta be smart about it, too. I can't keep jumping weight classes without being smart about it. I gotta see how I feel, too. Bring on anyone. I'm here to fight anyone. Everybody knows. Anyone. They mentioned Santa Cruz, bring him. They mentioned -- uh, what's his name. Ah, I forgot his name. Golden Boy has him at 126. I forgot his name, man. Gary Russell. They've named Gary Russell, bring him. Jhonny Gonzalez, bring him. Anyone, man. You know me, I'm here to fight anyone. At the same time, you guys better pay me good, because I think I work hard for this, I've given you guys good fights, and I hope Golden Boy starts noticing that.

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