On August 13, Showtime's bantamweight tournament final comes to its overdue conclusion as Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares square off in Las Vegas. Here's the official Showtime trailer for the big fight:
Who do you have in this one right now? Both have advantages, and both are near the top of the bantamweight division, behind only pound-for-pound star Nonito Donaire. Agbeko has experience on his side, but Mares has youth, and both have faced good competition, including each man having fought Vic Darchinyan and Yonnhy Perez.
The biggest factor obviously is the health of Agbeko (28-2, 22 KO). The 31-year-old Ghanaian, now based in the Bronx, came down with sudden onset sciatica in April when these two were supposed to finish the tournament, but by all accounts is in good shape. If that injury took a lot out of him, he's clearly at a disadvantage with someone as good, young, and already battle-tested as Abner Mares. But if he's in good shape, Agbeko has always been in the fight with everyone.
It's a big test for Mares again, and the 25-year-old Mexican seems to have a rare ambition. Even in a sport where there are a lot of fighters with great drive, hunger, and passion, Mares comes off like a guy who is exceptionally driven, with very lofty goals. He's shown a lot of heart in his last two fights, and will need that again against Agbeko.
I'm really quite excited for this fight. Mares is one of the brightest new stars in boxing, and Agbeko is pretty much always in a good fight, so I think there will be plenty of action and drama here, assuming Agbeko is at full strength.