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Abner Mares hurts rib, match on hold

Abner Mares suffered a rib injury during a sparring session, forcing him to postpone his rematch with featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Monday.

Mares, the former titleholder, was due to face Gonzalez in a rematch on Feb. 15 in the main event of a Showtime-televised card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Schaefer said the fight will be rescheduled on a date to be determined, but probably at a different venue because of the difficulty securing an open Saturday night at Staples Center, one of the busiest arenas in the world.

"I got a call from directly Abner [on Monday afternoon] and he said that he suffered a rib injury last week in sparring and that he tried to see if he could shake it off but he had to go and see the doctor and that the doctor told him he should not have any contact for several weeks," Schaefer said. "So that necessitates that we move the date of the fight and it will not happen on Feb. 15."

Schaefer said that Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez informed Gonzalez's team of the situation. Schaefer said he also informed Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza.

"I will be working next week with Stephen to see what we want to do," Schaefer said. "I need to talk to venues and coordinate with Showtime to find a different date. Abner wants this fight and so does Jhonny, so it's just a matter of finding a different date that works."

Mares, a former bantamweight and junior featherweight titlist and one of the hottest rising stars in boxing, knocked out Daniel Ponce De Leon to win a featherweight world title in May, the third weight class in which Mares had won a title during a brilliant 21-month stretch.

But in his first featherweight title defense on Aug. 24, Mares took on Gonzalez -- who had once employed a young Mares as a sparring partner in 2006 -- and was stunningly knocked down twice and stopped in the first round as Gonzalez pulled the upset to win a 126-pound world title for the second time.

Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs), 28, a 2004 Mexican Olympian based in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., had the right to a rematch in the contract and immediately exercised his option shortly after the loss to Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KOs), 32, of Mexico.

Frank Espinoza, Mares' manager -- and no relations to Showtime's Espinoza -- said Mares was in training camp in Mexico City when he suffered the injury.

"He said that his ribs were very sore and when I reached out to talk to Richard [on Monday], he said there is nothing that we can do as far as rescheduling the fight until next week, after the holiday, when the Showtime people are back in the office," Espinoza said. "Of course, Abner is disappointed. He was ready to go in and win the world title again.

"This is boxing and accidents happen in sparring. Unfortunately, he got hurt. So now we will wait and talk to Golden Boy about a new date."