Photos: Stephanie Trapp
Abner Mares 30-2-1(15KO’s) just welcomed back his new promoter Richard Schaefer back to championship boxing with a brand new WBA featherweight world title to hang on his wall. Fifteen months removed from the Battle of Los Angeles with Leo Santa Cruz, Mares made his ring return to dominate Jesus Cuellar 28-2(21KO’s).
From the opening bell Cuellar tried to bull his way forward with wide swinging punches but, Mares countered and moved well all night setting traps and countering Cuellar at every step. Cuellar never bothered to cut the ring off and chose to follow Mares around as the Mexican American fighter from Hawaiian Gardens, California dictated the pace and distance of the fight.
In the eleventh round Mares made Cuellar pay for rushing forward blindly as he leaned into a right hand and dropped the Argentine, appearing to widen the scores even further. After the final bell to the surprise of everyone in attendance the final scores read 115-112 Cuellar, and 117-110, 116-111 for Mares. InstanBoxing.com un-official scorecard was 117-110 for Mares.
Following the fight Mares said “I never doubted myself, when I fought Leo (Santa Cruz) I fought the wrong fight” “It was my coach, we had the perfect game plan”.
The win could setup a fight with the winner of Leo Santa Cruz vs Carl Frampton in the near future, A fight that could be huge in Las Vegas or Los Angeles. Said Mares after the fight on who he could face next, “I want anyone with a title”. WBO featherweight title holder Oscar Valdez trains in Los Angeles and has a sizeable following that would make for a surefire sellout unification match.