Former three-division titleholder Abner Mares returns to action on June 25, when he faces Jesus Cuellar in the PBC on CBS co-feature at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, for Cuellar’s WBA "world" featherweight title.
Mares (29-2-1, 15 KO) has once again changed trainers, now working with Robert Garcia following a loss last August to Leo Santa Cruz. The two of them spoke from training camp about the new partnership and the upcoming fight.
"This is going to be a technical fight. Cuellar is a hard-hitting fighter and since the fight was made we’ve been preparing for a real battle. I have no personal vendetta against him, however I am excited to see what monster the Mares-Garcia combination has created and gets unleashed. My power and spirit are 1000 percent. Fans are going to see a fantastic, clean, technical fight."
"It’s my first time fighting and being in New York and I plan on giving the fans at Barclays a ‘Fight of the Year’ performance. New York is the home of the American dream. Being a Mexican who came to the U.S. as a young child, it’s hugely symbolic for me as well as my family. This is my chance at winning my fourth world title and to do it in the city that started so many dreams and careers and on the first primetime fight on CBS in almost 40 years, it’s an important moment."
How are you preparing for this fight?
"I’ve been training with Robert since December. When the original March fight was postponed and I had a chance to fight Cuellar for the title so we never really took a break. We did change our training regimen a bit to stay fresh, get stronger and work on some tactical and technical skills. Robert has a great eye and knowledge of the sport, having worked with so many fighters, including Cuellar. It gives me an advantage in preparation."
Why the change in trainers?
"I knew I needed to change my camp after the last fight. I felt that we had a solid camp but in the end, I didn’t stick to the plan and it resulted in a loss. I am a warrior, I’ll never give up, always come back. I am not afraid to take a fight. But I knew I needed a trainer whose plan I would have to follow versus having a trainer who would fit into mine. Robert and I come from similar backgrounds, his record speaks for itself and I know this partnership is going to deliver big wins."
TRAINER ROBERT GARCIA
"I’ve been seeing the Abner that the world knew three to four years ago. A warrior with tremendous boxing skills, that’s the Abner I see now. He’s in tremendous shape but it’s a different Abner. He’s been a warrior all his life and he will come to fight – he has that mentality – but his jab, his straight punches and footwork are better than what fans have seen in the past two years."
What is Abner’s untapped skill?
"Abner is very candid as a boxer. He has great skills in speed, footwork and power -- he has all three and when combined he’s unstoppable. Sparring has been tremendous and if he does exactly what he is doing in gym and follows instructions then he can compete against any top featherweight in the world in my opinion."
How is sparring?
"Abner’s a beast. He’s doing great in our sparring sessions – his power is tremendous and his boxing has just become more effective. He’s always been a tremendous fighter who can box inside and on the outside. What the world saw and loved from him in August – his heart and ability to get in and fight – has been focused and strengthened. We’re very focused on winning and beating a hard-hitting fighter."