By Miguel Maravilla
Photos: Carlos Delgado – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
WBC featherweight champion Abner Mares (26-0, 14 KOs) is set to take on former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KOs) of Mexico City on August 24 at the Stub Hub Center (formerly Home Depot Center) in Carson, California live on Showtime. Mares spoke to the media at a press conference Thursday’ at the El Paseo Restaurant at Olvera Street Plaza in Los Angeles to announce his upcoming fight with Jhonny Gonzalez.
Starting off the press conference was Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez in welcoming everyone in attendance. “It will be a great night of boxing at a great venue, when you have Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz in a card you know there will be excitement,” Gomez said. Jhonny Gonzalez was not present at Thursday’s press conference but spoke briefly with the media via Skype as he talked about the upcoming dual with Mares. “Thank you all for being here there was a problem boarding the flight,” Gonzalez said. “I want to thank Golden Boy and Abner Mares for taking this fight. We know Abner Mares is a great fighter that’s why he is world champ.”
Then the champion Abner Mares took the dais as he welcomed everyone in attendance.
“I want to fight tough fights and be recognized as one of the best. August 24 it’s going to be another tough fight against another good friend Jhonny Gonzalez. I have known Jhonny for a long time. It’s funny how life has changed. I was Gonzalez’ sparring partner years ago when he was the champ helping him out for Israel Vasquez and look at me now. I am the world champion, he is the challenger and we’re fighting.”
The focus for Mares right now is Gonzalez however Abner had some interesting comments in wrapping up Thursday’s press conference. “This is a good fight for both of us and a tremendous undercard. Leo Santa Cruz he is looking for his second title in a different weight class and who knows? You might see us fighting each other. Most of you are asking for it. That might be a possible fight, so come support us on August 24.”
For the pride of Hawaiian Gardens Abner Mares every fight he is in is always a challenge. He is coming off a big TKO win over Daniel Ponce de Leon last May in winning the WBC title that once belonged to Gonzalez.
“It is going to be a tough fight for both of us. A tremendous fight for the fans and I’m looking forward to facing yet another talented fighter,” Mares told Fightnews.com. “Jhonny, I can relate to him, I trained with Nacho for three years. We’re from the same school. He is more schooled by him, but I am familiar with his style and look forward to fighting him.”
Gonzalez a former two time world champion is a veteran of the sport that has faced Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, Fernando Montiel, Israel Vasquez, Gerry Penalosa, Toshiaki Nishioka, and Daniel Ponce de Leon. He won his first world title in 2005 by stopping Thailand’s Ratanachai Sor Vorapin in seven rounds.
“Jhonny Gonzalez is a tough opponent, yet another fighter that I chose. He has over 60 fights and 40 knockouts, an experienced fighter so I have my hands full come August 24,” Mares told us.
In 2011, Gonzalez scored a fourth round TKO over Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan going into hostile territory to win the WBC featherweight title. After successfully defending his title twice Gonzalez lost a technical decision over Daniel Ponce de Leon last September.
“Styles make fights. Everyone is thinking Ponce beat Jhonny, I beat Ponce, than I will beat Jhonny but it’s not like that,” Mares told Fightnews.com “Ever since Yohnny Perez, I have faced nothing but the best and tough opponents, current world champions and ex world champions, fighters with great resumes. I am here to face anyone. I have done a terrific job. You will see a different Abner, different attitude but with the same determination, hunger, and ready to fight!”
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Victor Terrazas
Also in attendance at Thursday’s press conference was former bantamweight world champion the undefeated Leo Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14KOs) of Lincoln Heights, California as he will take on WBC super bantamweight champion Guadalajara, Mexico’s Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas (37-2-1, 27 KOs) on the undercard.
“I am happy and excited very honored to be fighting for the WBC title it has always been a dream now that it has come true. I am not going to let that opportunity go by, Now it’s my time to show you what I got,” Leo Santa Cruz said.
“Terrazas is really hungry. He comes forward pressuring. He is a warrior but I will go out there and give it my all. I intend to give a war August 24. I will give it my best to win that title,” Santa Cruz told Fightnews.com. “Expect a lot of punches. I will go out there and work the body like I always do, give the fans what they want. I won my first world title there (Stub Hub Center), I will do the same this time. I will give the fans there money’s worth and give a good fight!”
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