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Mares vs Gonzalez: Picks and predictions from the BLH staff

Jhonny Gonzalez is looking to regain the WBC featherweight title he lost to Daniel Ponce De Leon, but he'll have to go through the man who stopped Ponce De Leon, Abner Mares.


Ryan Bivins

Mares will stop Gonzalez somewhere in the middle rounds. Jhonny can't take a heavy punch and his ability to deliver one just isn't what it used to be. Quite frankly I thought Eusebio Osejo should have beat him earlier this year. Abner should replicate what Eusebio did at a higher level and with better finishing ability. Mares TKO-5.

Scott Christ

I really don't see Gonzalez being very competitive in this fight. Mares is younger, I think he's faster, and at this point, Gonzalez is 31 years old and past his better years, which were partially spoiled by a dodgy chin that cost him in some big fights, namely against Toshiaki Nishioka and Israel Vazquez, two top fighters he had all the ability in the world to beat, except he was let down by his punch resistance. Gonzalez was once a very, very good fighter, but at this point he's just good, and Mares is closing in on really elite status in the sport. He might not be No. 2 pound-for-pound, but I think he's already got a great argument for top five. I think this version of Gonzalez might be Mares' weakest opponent since 2010, save for Eric Morel. Mares has been here before and he's given no impression he's about to leave. Mares TKO-6.

Tom Craze

From what we've seen of him in the past few years, it's surely difficult to not have been impressed by Abner Mares. He has his critics - perhaps rightly so - and isn't always the prettiest to watch, but there aren't many fighters around who do sheer, teeth-gritting determination and bloody-mindedness better. What's more, he appears to be getting better and better.

Perez, Darchinyan, Agbeko, Morel, Moreno and Ponce de Leon is a pretty formidable sequence in and around the bantamweight and featherweight border and to win them all, bar one, is some going. Jhonny Gonzalez isn't the man that many will have wanted to see as Mares's next fight after May's dismantling of Ponce de Leon, but in terms of calibre of opposition, Mares isn't letting too much slip.

That said, how do you pick against Mares here? While Gonzalez has won two on the spin - against, at best, middling opposition - it's Mares with the momentum, the Californian home advantage; it's Mares who holds all the cards. Gonzalez can bang, and memories of that stoppage over Hasegawa tell us that he's no stranger to causing a shock on the road, but I don't see it happening here. Mares by unanimous decision.

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