By Ricardo Conde
IBF #6 bantamweight contender Abner Mares (20-0, 13 KO’s) of Norwalk, CA by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, will take on undefeated champion Yonnhy Perez (20-0, 14 KO’s) of Colombia for the IBF bantamweight title on Saturday May 22nd in the co-feature bout of “Once and Four All” which will be headlined by Israel “El Magnifico” Vazquez (44-4, 32 KO’s) taking on Rafael Marquez (38-5, 34 KO’s) at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA.
At only 24 years of age, Abner Mares is quickly becoming one of boxing’s newest stars. We had a moment to sit down and talk to Mares as he prepares for his upcoming bout, here’s what he had to say:
You’re currently preparing for your next fight, which will be against Yonnhy Perez, what do you know about your opponent and what’s your opinion of him as a fighter?
I know a lot about Yonnhy Perez, outside the ring he’s a very nice guy, very humble but inside the ring he’s an animal. He comes forward a lot and never stops throwing and a tough champion. I know this fight is going to be really tough for both of us.
How is training camp going and how do you feel at this point of your training camp?
Training camp has been great. I feel I have a little bit of an advantage because I just fought on March 25th and I got right back into training after that fight just a few days after. So everything is great and our conditioning is great, it’s going really good right now.
This is the first time you’ll be co-headlining a major card, do think there’s any added pressure for you to have a great performance and how does that make you feel?
No not all, once I get in that ring I forget about the lights, the cameras and it’s just us two inside that ring. This is my time and I’m just going to do what I always do and that’s winning.
Do you think Perez is going to be the toughest fight of your career so far?
Definitely, I know this is going to be my toughest fight so far. We’re very similar so yes, I have no doubt that this will be my toughest fight.
What kind of statement are you looking to make in your fight with Perez?
I’m looking to show everyone that I mean business, I mean just fighting Yonnhy Perez is already making a statement. I could have easily gone after a weaker champion; I don’t know if weaker is the word but maybe someone not as tough as Yonnhy. To me, Yonnhy is one of the toughest bantamweights out there, at least that’s what a lot of people say and beating Yonnhy is going to make a big statement that Abner Mares means business and to show the fans and the Mexican audience that there’s a new Mexican warrior on his way.
What is your opinion of the current bantamweight division?
I think it’s a really tough division to be in right now. There are a lot of prospects, contenders and really tough champions out there. To me bantamweight next to super middleweight has some of the toughest fighters in the sport right now.
You are signed with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, how has that helped your career?
It’s helped me a lot, I’m very thankful; from day one they’ve helped me with my career, that’s where I started. Hopefully come May 22nd, God willing, I’ll become their first world champion that started from scratch at Golden Boy Promotions. So I’m really excited and anxious to be able to do that for Golden Boy.
What are some of your goals for rest of 2010?
Well, first would be to get past this fight because I know it’s going to be a really tough fight against Yonnhy and we’ll see what else happens after this fight. Hopefully better fights like this one because I think that’s what boxing needs right now and I know that’s what the fans are looking for.
Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
Definitely, I’d like to thank everyone for all their support, all my friends and family and Abner Mares will be the next Mexican world champion and a special thank you to everyone in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.