Abner Mares Looks To Avenge Loss To Leo Santa Cruz

If one were to look at Abner Mares circa 2015 and Abner Mares today, one would likely believe they are two different fighters.

The Abner Mares from 2015 was unable to defeat WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz, losing a majority decision on a fight many had tabbed as one of the most exciting fights of 2015. The Abner Mares of today is different, more confident and ready to close the chapter in his career involving Santa Cruz. Mares will get that chance to avenge that loss when he faces Santa Cruz at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 9.

If you were to ask Mares about his 2015 fight against Santa Cruz, Mares would tell you that the past was the past. Mares said there’s no point in weeping for what could have been, but the past won’t matter much if he is able to take advantage of a second chance given to him.

“Honestly, at the end of it all, the past is in the past,” Mares told FIGHT SPORTS. “There is something I can do to make it better and that is win on June 9. You can add that to another chapter. I can’t go back and feel bad for myself for making mistakes in life that we all do. I’ve been given a second chance on June 9 and it’s going to be a tough fight and I have to make adjustments that I didn’t make in 2015.”

The rematch has been one in the making for years. Since losing to Santa Cruz, Mares made a few adjustments to his career, most notably bringing in Robert Garcia as his trainer. The relationship has proven very effective, with Mares winning the WBA’s secondary featherweight world title in their first fight together.

Winning the secondary title was necessary to get the rematch against Santa Cruz, who holds the governing body’s “super” title. After successfully defending his version of the title last year, Mares believes he is currently the best he’s ever felt in his career.

“Training camp has been great, thank God. I feel great, I’m in a great spirits. I’m just looking forward to fighting Leo on Saturday,” Mares said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I am at my best. I’m going to get my chance to prove it. I’m in the best shape in my career.”

But Mares isn’t the only one to have undergone changes in his career since that fateful 2015 fight. Santa Cruz suffered his first career loss to Carl Frampton in 2016, but has since then avenged that loss.

Mares also knows that feeling after losing a world title fight, but does not believe prior experience will be an advantage to either fight heading into their bout on June 9.

“To be honest, I don’t think any of us has any advantage. Yeah, Leo has fought Frampton and you could say he has the experience, but I myself have fought Jesus Cuellar after a 15-month layoff. I think we have gone through so much as athletes. It’s going to be two different fighters than the ones who faced each other back in 2015. We’re more seasoned fighters now,” Mares said.

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