Friday, July 12, 2013
Mares card should lick summer lull
By Dan Rafael
The summer is usually a slow time for boxing, but there are at least a handful of higher-profile shows here and there to get us all through, including one for which the promotion kicked off on Thursday at a news conference at a Los Angeles Mexican restaurant.
Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya formally announced a world title doubleheader on Aug. 24 (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and it's a good-looking show: featherweight titlist Abner Mares making the first defense of his belt against former titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in the main event and junior featherweight titlist Victor Terrazas in a mandatory defense against former bantamweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz in the co-feature.
Mares (26-0-1, 14 KOs) won the belt -- his third in three divisions in just 19 months -- on May 4 by knocking out Daniel Ponce De Leon in the ninth round on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero undercard in Las Vegas.
Last September, Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KOs) suffered a bad cut from an accidental head-butt and was unable to continue in an eighth-round technical decision, losing the belt to Ponce De Leon. Gonzalez is seeking to regain his old title.
Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KOs) won a vacant 122-pound world title on April 20 in Mexico City via split decision against former junior bantamweight champion Cristian Mijares. He will be making his first defense against Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KOs), who vacated a bantamweight belt to move up in weight.
Here's a little of what the fighters and De La Hoya had to say at Thursday's news conference:
Mares: "I'm looking forward to fighting in front of my hometown fans on Aug. 24 at StubHub Center. Jhonny Gonzalez and I have a lot of respect for each other, but we know what's at stake. I'm confident that we're going to put on an explosive fight that fans will want to see."
Gonzalez: "The belt belongs to me. It's time it returns to my waist. I will give it everything I've got on Aug. 24."
Terrazas: "I've made many sacrifices throughout my career to win this belt and I'm not about to give it away. It's obvious that Leo Santa Cruz is a talented fighter, but it's going to take more than that for me to go back to Mexico without the belt."
Santa Cruz: "I'm very honored to be fighting for the WBC world championship and I'm extremely motivated to train hard to take this belt home. I will not let this opportunity get away from me. I will become world champion once again."
De La Hoya: "This doubleheader reminds me of great Los Angeles fight nights when you would see great Mexican fighters battling it out in the ring while the crowd went crazy. That's what we have with Mares versus Gonzalez and Terrazas versus Santa Cruz -- four Mexican warriors fighting not only for a world championship, but for pride."