By Miguel Maravilla
Photo: Big Joe Miranda
Unbeaten Abner Mares (25-0-1, 13 KOs) of Hawaiian Gardens is in the opening phases of training camp as he prepares for his featherweight title showdown against WBC featherweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I haven’t changed my routine for training camp. I have been doing three-a-days for my last five fights. Run in the morning, gym in the afternoon, and gym in the evening. We know it’s a hard fight so we have to train hard,” Mares told Fightnews.com on his preparation.
Business as always in the gym, Mares and trainer Clemente Medina are working together at the Elite MMA Academy in Santa Fe Springs. Medina who at one time trained Ponce de Leon knows what Mares is up against on May 4.
“The fight with Ponce looks difficult. We know its a hard fight going up against Ponce. I know what he is about. I used to work with him at one time,” Medina told Fightnews.com. “Mares will be a beast by the end of camp and ready for Ponce.”
Interestingly Abner Mares is managed by Frank Espinoza who also manages the career of his opponent Daniel Ponce de Leon. Espinoza has guided both to world titles as Abner won his first world title in December of 2010 defeating Vic Darchinyan by split decision in a thriller. He also began to manage Ponce de Leon last year as he won his second world title last September defeating Jhonny Gonzalez by technical decision.
“I got the fight offered when I heard who it was at first I was thoughtful like do I want to take this? But it’s a good fight and exposure for both of us on a good card so let’s get it on.” Mares said. “I think it was more difficult for Frank than any of us the fact that both of us are managed by Frank Espinoza but he knows this will be a good fight for both sides.”
Abner Mares is coming off a dominant performance in winning a unanimous decision over slick southpaw Anselmo Moreno last November at the Staples Center. Now Mares has vacated the WBC Super bantamweight title and is moving up one division looking to add another belt to his collection as he has won world titles at 118 and 122.
“It’s going to be tough fight, a good fight, against a good friend but at the end of the day it’s business. We are going to give the fans and crowd a good fight,” Mares told us.
Ponce de Leon vs. Mares will be the co-main event to Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas live on Showtime. Taking place May 4, Cinco de Mayo weekend, a Mexican holiday which has had major boxing events over the last decade from the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather.
“Expect a tremendous fight from Abner Mares and May 4 people are going to be saying Mayweather who? Abner Mares stole that night!” Mares concluded.
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