Abner Mares hadn’t fought in about 16 months, lost that previous fight, and hadn’t held a world title since 2013, but he’s back in the mix at featherweight now, defeating Jesus Cuellar to claim the WBA “world” featherweight title.
The scores resulted in a split decision, two cards going to Mares, 117-110 and 116-111, while judge Kermit Bayless scored it 115-112 for Cuellar. BLH had it 115-112 for Mares.
Mares (30-2-1, 15 KO) was quicker and sharper than Cuellar (28-2, 21 KO), who at times looked like the heavier puncher. That said, it was Mares who scored the fight’s only knockdown, dropping Cuellar in the 11th round with a right hand counter.
Mares, 31, could look to defend this paper title in 2017, or he could target the winner of the Frampton-Santa Cruz rematch that’s coming in January, where the WBA “super world” featherweight title is at stake. Mares fought Santa Cruz in 2015, losing a decision.