Five keys for Abner Mares
Plotting a path to victory against Anselmo Moreno
Mexico's Abner Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs ) will be defending his junior featherweight belt this coming Saturday against Panama's Anselmo Moreno (33-1-1, 12 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, in one of the most difficult fights of his career. Mares, who won the vacant title in his first fight in the division, is the slight favorite to win.
Even though Mares is the more aggressive fighter, and has the heavier punching power, Moreno is a technical fighter with an enviable defensive technique.
Here are five keys to victory for Mares in this championship fight:
Fast and furious
|Mares is a champion who can adapt to any kind of opponent. He always climbs into the ring with a defined plan, thanks to his versatility, and in this case his speed will be a destabilizing factor to win the fight. If he manages to stay away from Moreno's effective jab and can take advantage of his speed, this could be a long night for the challenger. |
A good start for a better ending
|If, just as we think, Mares is able to make it a short-range fight, he shouldn't have any problems to find a way to knock out his opponent. But for that to happen, he will have to be aggressive from the opening bell. Staying on Moreno's face will have to be a fundamental weapon in his quest to carry the fight and keep his belt.|
In your corner
|Trainer Clemente Medina, a wise old fox who has been working in boxing for more than 35 years, has a reputation for diligently studying his opponents and knows Mares very well. If the fight gets complicated, there will be a Plan B that will be just as effective as the Plan A, one to help Mares get through the rocky moments and win the fight.|
Outside, inside and the middle too
|Mares will keep his hands higher than usual when fighting at long range, especially to avoid Moreno's jab. But Moreno's most dangerous punches always come from funky angles. When Moreno tries to punch this way and fails, the Panamanian leaves himself open and vulnerable. Mares will read this and seize the moment. We'll see Mares charging on the inside to connect his double combinations to the midsection and chin. This will be his main path to victory.|
KO or bust
|Mares must look for a finish at all costs, but not by disregarding his work plan. With his experience and style, Moreno won't be an easy opponent if the fight goes the distance. In his past 10 fights, Moreno has gone beyond the eighth round on nine occasions, and he has won every time. So Mares must look for exchanges early, use his body punching and uppercut to soften up his foe, then finish him as early as possible. But it won't be easy to do against a fighter riding a nine-year undefeated streak.|
Bernardo Pilatti is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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