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Abner Mares: Jhonny Gonzalez is taking care of my belt

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Abner Mares still wants a rematch with Jhonny Gonzalez, and is excited to be back with trainer Clemente Medina.

Marcos Villegas

"You made a move from the Bay Area back to Clemente Medina, your old trainer. Talk to us about the decision behind doing that."

Abner Mares

"I think the question the fans have right now is, 'Did Abner Mares get a tattoo?' Yes, I got a tattoo. That's what you asked when you first saw me! But, yes, Abner Mares is back with his old trainer. The man who took him to three world titles. The man that few people know of, he's the one that I came up with for my debut fight. He's the man who took me threw my first few fights. I'm back! I'm back at home. That's all I can tell you. I'm back with Medina, back with the old style, and hungry again."

Marcos Villegas

"Speaking with Clemente and the other people on your team, they mention there's a lot of factors as to why you moved back. A lot of people have commented, 'Abner just doesn't look right,' like an identity crisis. Was that happening with you [with Virgil Hunter]?"

Abner Mares

"That, and just the fact that I'm a good listener. I was listening to my coach, Virgil Hunter. 'Stick to your plan, stick to distance.' Either way, I got the win. I think that was the way to win. Yeah, maybe I would have looked more aggressive, let loose, but at the end of the day, I listen to what my corner says. It's a different type of training that I was trying to adapt to my style. I did a little bit, and I learned. Now it's just adding to my arsenal. The new coach, Virgil Hunter, I learned a lot. He's a wise man. He talks a lot. Everything that he says, it's, like, 'Wow.' He preaches. He can talk. He can preach. That man, I respect him a lot. I respect Virgil Hunter and everything he did. He took me in, and all I can say is I'm back to my comfort zone."

Marcos Villegas

"Was that a big part of it? Being away from home, being away from your family, your children?"

Abner Mares

"Yeah. I'm already too far into my career to be going -- I told Virgil, I can't be away from my kids. I can't be away from my wife. I love my kids so much. I've got my crew here. And it's not like I'm doing any harm out here, partying or drinking. No, I'm just here with my loved ones. That's what motivates you, makes you do even better. Me being motivated, it makes me want to learn more and do more. Out there, I was a little bit upset because there was nothing to do. We just spent our time in the room! Like, gym, run, gym, the room. All day. We had a theater in front of our hotel, and I must have watched, like, every single that was there. I was bored. I was going crazy from boredom. But nonetheless, I learned a lot. That's what I was there for. I took advantage of it. But I had to come back to my comfort zone and the people who have taught me a lot."

Marcos Villegas

"But you and Virgil are still on good terms."

Abner Mares

"No doubt. I had to sit down to him and talk to him. It's hard like any relationship. You're gonna break up with your girl, 'You know what, it's not you, it's me,' the old line. I did not say that, though. I told him it was him. No, no. If anything I told him just that I had a doctor's appointment and never came back. Nah, I just told him that I had to come back to my family."

Marcos Villegas

"Was this transition hard, or just where you left off?"

Abner Mares

"Me and Clemente, we just know each other so well. There was no -- it was not hard whatsoever. First day, 'Clemente, can we train again--' 'Yeah, let's go! Let's go to the gym!' That same day, we were at the gym with my conditioning coach, Luis Garcia, who's been with me since day one. I owe a lot to him. I left Clemente but never left Luis, maybe because he's a really good listener. He's a good man. But I'm back with my old team, Luis Garcia, Clemente Medina, we added Danny Valverde, Luis' assistant and a guy who helps out a lot in the gym, and my dad. That's the team right now."

Marcos Villegas

"The featherweight division has gotten really interesting in the last few months. You've got Walters, Lomachenko, Jhonny [Gonzalez], I know someone you still want to fight. What do you make of the recent happenings with Walters beating Nonito, Lomachenko winning in Macau, the situation with Gonzalez?"

Abner Mares

"It's crazy, bro. I lose last year, and then the featherweight division is packed with all these new fighters. Walters, we didn't even know about him. Lomachenko, yeah, we knew about him, but here he is. Outrageous record in the amateurs, and now with three, four fights, he's a world champion. Last but not least, Jhonny Gonzalez, who is taking care of my belt this year. Next year, God willing, we get that rematch and bring it back home."