Abner Mares headlines SHOWTIME tripleheader

By By Francis Walker BASN Boxing writer
Updated: March 21, 2012

Abner Mares

Abner Mares

NEW YORK, NY (BASN)–Last year, Abner Mares won SHOWTIME’s inaugural Bantamweight Tournament. The former Mexican Olympian and undefeated IBF bantamweight champion is making his mark on the sport at the age of 26. Mares already own big victories against former world champions Vic Darchinyan, Yohnny Perez, and a pair of noteworthy wins over Joseph Agbeko.

Mares (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will attempt to become a two-division world champion when he moves up to 122 pounds to challenge Eric Morel (46-2, 23 KO’s) for the vacant WBC super bantamweight title on Saturday, April 21, from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX.

SHOWTIME will televise Mares-Morel as the featured main event of a tripleheader.

“I’m ready to make an impact in the super bantamweight division,” Mares said. “I’m ready for anybody and everybody.”

Mares represented Mexico at the 2004 Athens Olympics in Greece. He turned professional in 2005. Mares is a wonderful talent on the rise and his performances in the Bantamweight Tournament were incredible. The only knock is way he defeated Agbeko in the first of two fights. Mares landed numerous low-blows and wasn’t docked any points from referee Pat Mora. One of low-blows counted as a knockdown against Agbeko in the eleventh round.

In the rematch last December, Mares set the record straight by capturing a more decisive 12-round decision; successfully defending the IBF bantamweight championship for the first and only time.

Morel, a somewhat forgotten warrior, returns to the big stage. Morel has a ton of experience – a former world champion. Morel is anxious for his story to be retold to the fight world as one of the world’s best.

“I feel better than ever,” said Morel. “I’m a better fighter today than I was 10 years ago. I always train hard and I’m always motivated. On April 21, I will become a world champion again and I will rock El Paso!”

Eric Morel is 36 years old. That’s pretty old for a fighter competing in the lower weight classes. But Morel is defining the odds. Morel has won 11 straight bouts since 2008 following a 3-year absence from the sport. Morel has never been knocked out.

Morel won the WBA bantamweight title in his native Madison, Wisconsin, via a unanimous decision over Sornpichai Kratingdaenggym in August 2000. After losing his title 3 years later without having any marquee fights, Morel failed miserably in his bid to overthrow Martin Castillo in 2005.

Morel did capture an interim WBO bantamweight title from the popular Gerry Penalosa in 2010, but he has gone largely under the radar during his recent, well-deserved resurgence.

In addition to WBA bantamweight sensation, Panama’s Anselmo Moreno (32-1-1, 11 KOs), making the tenth defense of his 118-pound title, battles David De La Mora (24-1, 17 KO’s) of Mexico. In December, Moreno impressed SHOWTIME TV executives with his 12-round drumming of long-time favorite Vic Darchinyan.

Moreno also has quality victories against: Lorenzo Parra, Nehomar Cermeno, Mahyar Monshipour and Wladimir Sidorenko.

Plus, former U.S. Olympian Gary Russell, Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs) meets the experienced Dat Nguyen (17-2, 6 KOs). The two were to have fought in February on the undercard of Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto welterweight clash, but Berto injured his left bicep in camp. Russell Jr.-Nguyen should be an entertaining clash.

“Since this fight was rescheduled, it just gives me more time to get ready,” said Russell. “There is nothing in this weight division that I haven’t seen before and there is no way that he can prepare for me.”

Just a few hours before the SHOWTIME Championship Boxing tripleheader broadcast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET, Golden Boy Promotions will feature a couple of fighters on the preliminary undercard to be shown live on SHOWTIME EXTREME at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“We are extremely excited about this tremendous triple-header that we are putting together for April 21,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “Whether you are watching it at the Don Haskins Center or at home on SHOWTIME, this is definitely a ‘can’t miss’ night of boxing.”