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Abner Mares

Height – 5-5
Weight – 126 (featherweight)
Date of Birth – November 28, 1985
Birthplace – Jalisco, Mexico
Hometown – Montebello, California
Record – 26-1-1 (14 knockouts)
 
As one of 11 brothers, Abner Mares had to learn how to fight.  Luckily for the 27-year-old featherweight star, he was pretty good at it – a fact that led him first to a stellar amateur career, and now into the top echelon of the professional ranks as a member of the Golden Boy Promotions team of fighters.
 
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Mares began boxing at the age of seven.
 
“My older brother used to take me to the gym, and my dad also used to box professionally, so it’s in the family,” said Mares, who now makes his home in Montebello, California.
 
Soon, Abner made his mark on the amateur ranks, where he compiled an amazing record of 112-8 with 84 KOs.  Among his amateur accomplishments were PAL, Silver Gloves, Junior Olympics, Olympic Festival, Central American, European Games and Under-17 World Championship titles.
 
With such focus and dedication comes a price though, and Mares wasn’t able to do the things most teenagers do while growing up.
 
“I missed out on a lot of things,” said Mares. “I didn’t go to my senior prom or nothing like that.  I wasn’t hanging around with my friends; I was more into boxing.”
 
But he also admits, “It’s paying off now.”
 
And pay off it did, as Mares became a 2004 Olympian for Mexico, and a bonafide star in the land of his birth, showing up on advertisements for Coca-Cola and Yogurt.  It’s the type of stuff that could distract a young fighter, but the focused Mares takes it all in stride.
 
“It’s just exciting,” he said.  “I take it kind of like a game.  I just go with the flow.”
 
Mares also had to show his maturity in the 2004 Athens Games, when he lost a highly controversial decision to Hungary’s Zsolt Bedak, a decision that provoked outrage around boxing circles.
 
“I was really disappointed, but in hearing things from Oscar (De La Hoya), Julio Cesar Chavez, and Finito Lopez, they were saying that I won the fight,” said Mares.  “And listening to them and hearing what they had to say about my fight, it comforted me.”
 
De La Hoya wasted no time once the Olympics were over, signing the young prospect to a promotional deal in November of 2004.
 
“It’s amazing because his story is almost like mine,” said De La Hoya.  “His father was a fighter, and my father was a fighter – just to know that he have similarities, it starts everything off on the right foot.”
 
“I’m really excited to work with Golden Boy Promotions,” adds Mares.  “A lot of people have congratulated me and told me that I did the right thing, which I know I did.  I think Oscar’s going to do a lot of things for me.”
 
Mares’ family also gave him the green light to leap into the professional ranks.
 
“I just finished high school and my mom and dad tell me that they’re behind me 100% in everything I do, not just boxing,” said Mares, a graduate of Artesia High School.  “But since I chose boxing, they’re 100% in back of me. I got my ten brothers as well, so I’ve got a big crowd behind me.”
 
Needless to say, with his pro-ready style, Mares was bound to be a crowd favorite.
 
“I could do a lot of things,” said Mares, who graduated from Artesia High in California.  “I can be aggressive, I can box.  The people that saw me in the Olympics must think that I’m a brawler because I was just going forward like a warrior.  My corner knew that we were getting robbed, so I had to go forward.  So a lot of people think I’m a brawler, but I’m more of a mixture of both.”
 
His goals in the pro game were clear.
 
“In the amateurs my goal was just to go to the Olympics, I wasn’t thinking of the medal until I got there,” said Mares.  “But now that I’m going to the pros, I want to go into a world championship fight.”
 
Mares got his pro career off to a great start on January 6, 2005, when he knocked out hard-hitting Luis Malave of Puerto Rico in just two rounds, and a little over a month later, on February 19, he once again showed great poise and punching power in knocking out Francisco Soto in five rounds.
 
Mares returned to the ring on April 29, 2005 and went the distance for the first time, nearly shutting out previously unbeaten David Vasquez over six rounds.
 
On June 16, 2005, Abner faced Arizona’s Baladan Treviso in a bout televised on HBO Latino’s Oscar De La Hoya Presents Boxeo De Oro, and the thunderous punching Mares was in fine form, stopping Treviso at 1:15 of the fifth round.
 
Veteran Elvis Martinez was up next on July 16, 2005 and he had no answers for Mares either, as the young star took only three rounds to stop him at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
 
Mares returned to the same MGM Grand ring on September 17, 2005, stopping previously unbeaten Selso Bosquez in four rounds, and the hits have kept on coming for the popular fighter, who has put together seven more wins – three by knockout – including an impressive fourth round stoppage of 8-0 prospect Wilmer Rodriguez on November 25, 2006, and a sixth round TKO of 35-fight veteran Angel Priolo in April of 2007.
 
After a July 2007 win over Saul Gutierrez, Mares upped his level of competition even more, stopping former world champion Isidro Garcia in seven rounds to win the NABO bantamweight title in September of last year, and defending that crown two months later with a 12 round win over Damian Marchiano.
 
But his biggest early win came on March 15, 2008, when he stopped bantamweight contender and 34 fight veteran Diosdado Gabi in just two rounds, announcing his true arrival on the world scene. 
 
After the Gabi, bout Mares stayed busy, decisioning once beaten Jonathan Arias over ten rounds in June of 2008, and then outpointing Jonathan Perez and knocking out Carlos Fulgencio in 2009 to improve to 19-0 as a pro.
 
On March 25, 2010, Mares headlined Golden Boy Promotions’ “Fight Night Club” event against Colombian veteran Felipe Almanza and knocked him out in the fifth round. The ‘keep busy’ bout led to a May 22nd title shot against IBF bantamweight champ Yonnhy Perez, and after 12 heated rounds, most in attendance believed Mares had done enough to win his first world title. Only one judge agreed though, with the other two calling the bout even, allowing Perez to keep his belt via a majority draw.
 
Undeterred, Mares expected to strap championship gold around his waist as soon as he got another shot at the crown, and that’s just what happened on December 11, 2010 when he won an exciting split decision over Vic Darchinyan for the IBO and WBC Silver bantamweight titles.
 
Next up for Mares was another title fight, this one against IBF champion Joseph Agbeko on April 23rd in Los Angeles, but that bout got postponed due to an injury suffered by Agbeko on fight week. Undeterred, Mares stayed in shape and waited for his time to come, and on August 13, 2011, he defeated Agbeko via 12 round majority decision, dropping his foe twice en route to winning the IBF bantamweight championship.
 
These rivals met a second time on December 3, 2011 at Honda Center in Anaheim, with Mares proving that his first win over “King Kong” was no fluke, as he retained his belt with a one-sided unanimous decision win.
 
Ready to begin the next chapter of his career, Mares moved to the super bantamweight division on April 21, 2012 and defeated former world titlist Eric Morel by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision that earned him his second divisional world title, the WBC super bantamweight crown.
 
On November 10, 2012, the hard work continued for Mares, as he battled Anselmo Moreno in one of the most highly-anticipated bouts of the year and delivered a career-best performance in winning a clear-cut unanimous decision win.
 
But Mares was far from satisfied, and on May 4, 2013, he moved up to the featherweight division to challenge Daniel Ponce De Leon for the WBC 126-pound title, and with a stirring ninth round TKO, he won a third divisional world championship.
 
Mares will defend that title against former champion Jhonny Gonzalez at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on August 24, 2013.