Well, that wasn't supposed to happen. Abner Mares, the rising, homegrown Golden Boy star, a three-division world titleholder, and one of the key cogs at Showtime, was knocked out in the first round tonight by Jhonny Gonzalez, who regained his WBC featherweight title and took the "0" from the younger man.
Mares (26-1-1, 14 KO) and Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KO) started off pretty normal, feeling one another out for the first two minutes or so, before Gonzalez absolutely drilled Mares with one of the best left hooks you'll ever see, a punch that came over Mares right glove and around the hand, landing flush on the button.
Mares never saw it, and he never did recover. He was up before referee Jack Reiss could count him out, but was on bad legs, and with his fighter's instinct, refused to hold. The veteran Gonzalez went for the kill, which he told Showtime's Jim Gray he did entirely because he did not want the resilient Mares to recover and work his way back into the fight. In short, Gonzalez went for broke, and it paid off when Reiss stopped the fight, determining that Mares was in no shape to continue.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:55 of the first round.
"Abner Mares is a great champion," Gonzalez told Gray. "This is only a trip-up for him. He'll come back and be a champion again."
After Mares congratulated Gonzalez, he spoke with Gray and was classy in defeat, in what had to have been a difficult and jarring moment for him.
"I'm not in this sport to carry an undefeated record," Mares said. "I want to fight the best. If I can get a rematch or even a tougher fight, I'm ready."
On the stoppage, Mares said he felt he could continue on, but that, "The ref did his job. He felt that I wasn't ready to continue, and I respect that."
A rematch would be no surprise, because this was a fight that is going to have a lot of people talking. Gonzalez may look to make a defense against someone else first, but the buzz around this -- which is in the running for Upset of the Year -- may force everyone's hand.
Do you want to see an immediate rematch?