Agbeko vs. Mares: WINNER TAKES ALL!

By Francis Walker BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 24, 2011

NEW YORK CITY, NY (BASN)–IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) and undefeated, rising 118-pound star Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) will conclude SHOWTIME’s “Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All” on Saturday, August 13, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas beginning at 10 PM/ET.

“I thank SHOWTIME for this tournament,” Agbeko said. “It will make me the best 118-pounder in the world when I win on Aug. 13.”

The bantamweight tournament has pumped new life in the careers of both finalists. Agbeko avenged his October 2009 title loss to Yohnny Perez by outclassing him in their rematch last December. Mares took one-step closer toward becoming a star in the division by besting former undisputed world flyweight titlist Vic Darchinyan in what was an exciting fight.

Both Agbeko and Mares fought Perez and Darchinyan. They are both very crafty boxers and can fight very well. They are the best, but there can only be one bantamweight king.

Agbeko strongly believes that he is already the finest in the division and that Mares won’t “survive.”

“My prediction is that the announcer will say “And STILL IBF bantamweight champion of the world….” Agbeko stated. “”I love fighting boxers over fighters because boxers use their brain. This will be a good fight. I know that we have both fought Vic (Darchinyan) and Yonnhy (Perez). He survived that but he will not survive me.”

The bantamweight tournament has proven to be a showcase for Mares.

The former 2004 Mexican Olympian survived a mean and nasty cut over his eye during the early rounds of his fight with Darchinyan. It appeared as though Mares was going to be outclassed by the stronger and more experienced former champion. However, Mares dug deep and showed Darchinyan he has resiliency and that he can fight when pressed.

Mares’ bout with Darchinyan was indeed the toughest of his career.

Mares said: “I expect nothing but tough fights at this point in my career. It helps me prepare better. Against Vic (Darchinyan), I fought a war. I’ll do whatever I need to do. In December, I had to change my plan because of the cut (on my head). Depending on how the fight goes over the first few rounds, I’ll adjust. I plan to box more this time but you never know.”

According to David Itskowitch, COO of Golden Boy promotions, a Mares victory would make the former Olympian the first boxer to win a world title since their professional debut under Golden Boy.

“When Abner wins this fight on Aug. 13, he will be the first fighter to have his pro debut all the way through winning a world championship with Golden Boy,” Itskowitch stated. “It’s been quite a journey. I’m proud to know him. He is a family man and an example for all athletes. He got here by winning a great knock-down, drag-out fight against Vic Darchinyan and the Final should be just as exciting.”

Mares too share his promoter’s enthusiasm.

“It would mean everything to get the IBF world title,” he added. “Knowing you’re the world champ, that’s everything.”

Agbeko’s promoter, the famed Don King even likes Mares, but understands the business of promoting is world champion and believes in his ability to win.

“I like Mares but it’s going to be a day for Joseph,” King said. “You’ve got to be there on the scene. If you can’t, check it out on the screen. This fight is a statement. We’re part of history, and sorry Abner, to be a part of history, one must be sacrificed.”

Bantamweight Tourney tickets

Tickets for the “Bantamweight Tournament: WINNER TAKE ALL” start at only $25 bucks. VIP suite seats priced at $150 are on sale now, as well as other ticket-seating options. They can be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Khan KOs Judah, unifies WBA/IBF titles

Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) has unified the WBA/IBF junior welterweight championships following a fifth round knockout of former two-division titlist, Zab Judah (41-7, 28 KOs). The championship match came to an end at 2:47 seconds of the fifth round when a left-jab, followed by a solid body-punch that dropped Judah to the canvas.

Khan vs. Judah was the headliner on HBO card from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. Undefeated super middleweight prospect, “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillen (25-0, 19 KOs) stopped Jason Lehoullier (21-6-1, 8 KOs) at 1:38 of the fifth round.

The bout was significant, as unified WBC/WBO champion Timothy Bradley is currently at odds with promoter Gary Shaw. With Bradley out of the picture momentarily, Khan has emerged as the No. 1 fighter at 140 pounds.

Soon Khan will move up and will be eyeing the possibility of fighting Floyd Mayweather next year. First, Mayweather has a September 17, date against Victor Ortiz for the WBC welterweight championship.

Lara disputes loss to Williams

The boxing community continues to cry foul, as Erislandy Lara dropped a disputed 12-round majority decision against Paul Williams at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ on July 9th. As a result, the three judges who scored the bout 11-114 (even) and 116-114, 115-114 (Williams) were suspended by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission indefinitely.

“When you see a young undefeated star convincingly win almost every round against one of the best fighters in the world and then have the judges take the fight away from him, it’s very disturbing, not only as his promoter, but also as a boxing fan,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “The CompuBox statistics alone indicate who the winner of this fight was…Lara landed 42% of his total punches to Williams 19%. Further indication come when examining the power punch statistics as landed Lara landed half of his power shots to almost one of every five that Williams landed.”

Lara suffered a facial fracture and will be out for approximately six to eight weeks. Lara’s injuries do not compare to be beating he issued Williams, whose face was also swollen, bloody, and disoriented. Lara, like everyone else, believed he won the fight.

We hope that Williams and his promoter Dan Goossen will give Lara a much-deserved rematch to settle the controversy that has erupted since Saturday night’s decision. If Williams chooses not to fight Lara again, Erislandy is ready to fight anyone, anywhere and at any time and we will make sure they he gets the opportunities he deserves in the wake of his spectacular performance in Atlantic City.”

“It was a good fight, but I don’t know what the judges saw,” Lara said. “I definitely want the rematch with Williams.”

Williams probably won’t fight again until the first quarter of next year. If Lara doesn’t get Williams in the ring again, perhaps we’ll see Lara again with another big name toward the end of this year.

Guerrero challenges Maidana in August

Unified interim WBA/WBO lightweight champion Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) will challenge interim WBA super lightweight champion Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) on Saturday, August 27, at HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. HBO will televise on “Boxing After Dark” beginning at 10:30 PM/ET.

“Words can’t describe how I feel knowing that I’ll be fighting Marcos Maidana as the main event on HBO at the HP Pavilion in San Jose,” Guerrero said. “Bringing a championship fight to the Bay Area is a dream come true and it excites me most that Bay Area boxing fans will get to witness one of the most anticipated fights of the year. ”

Guerrero will be aiming to win his fourth division title. Guerrero has captured titles at 126, 130, and 135 pounds having defeated the likes of Joel Casamayor, Michael Katsidis, Jason Litzau, and Vincente Escobedo.

Maidana, who defeated Mexican legend Erik Morales earlier this year in what was a terrific fight, is probably best-remembered for his slugfests with junior welterweight titlist, Amir Khan and welterweight titlist, Victor Ortiz.

“I am happy that yet another great matchup has been set for me,” said Maidana. “Like I always say, I am willing to face the best out there. Robert Guerrero is a great champion and I am sure he will bring all of his skills to the ring on August 27, but I will be ready for him. I’m already working hard in training in Puerto Rico to be stronger than ever when I fight him. I know it will be a great fight.”

Tickets, priced at $252, $127, $62, and $26, are currently on sale through Ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000