Three-Division, Four-Time World Champion Abner Mares Sustains Injury; Forced To Withdraw From Match Against WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Gervonta Davis

Three-Division, Four-Time World Champion Abner Mares Sustains Injury; Forced To Withdraw From Match Against WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Gervonta Davis.

Davis Now Set To Take on Former World Champion Hugo Ruiz in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Main Event Saturday, February 9 at Dignity Health Sports Park In Carson, California live on SHOWTIME®

LOS ANGELES (January 30, 2019) -Three-division, four-time champion Abner Mares has been forced to pull out of the WBA Super Featherweight title match against two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis on Saturday, February 9 after suffering an injury while training.

Davis will now defend against former world champion Hugo Ruiz in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, with coverage beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Ruiz is an all-action brawler who previously picked up a world title at super bantamweight in 2015 and most recently defeated Alberto Guevara in January on the Pacquiao vs. Broner PPV event in a featherweight fight. Ruiz, who owns 18 first round knockouts, floored Guevara in the opening minute and cruised to a near-shutout decision victory.

He had originally been slotted for an interim title shot against Jhack Tepora in January before Tepora missed weight, but will now have his chance to fight for a belt against one of the most-feared punchers at 130-pounds on February 9. The 30-year-old from Sinaloa, Mexico stands at five feet, nine inches tall, nearly four inches taller than Davis, and has won three straight fights leading up to this fight.

“I trained for three months to fight a southpaw when I fought in January,” said Ruiz. “When the opponent changed, it was hard to adjust in 24 hours. After the fight I immediately went back to the gym, because you never know what’s going to happen in boxing. I’m 100 percent ready to knockout Gervonta Davis.”

“Hugo Ruiz has another opportunity to fight for a world title because he’s demonstrated that he’s devoted to boxing and his career,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Ruiz’s Promoter. “He went right back to the gym after his last fight. He’s ready for another great opportunity to be a world champion and he’s going to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Mares injured his right elbow during sparring at the Robert Garcia Boxing Gym in Riverside, Calif. Mares said he had experienced soreness in his elbow following the past two fights, but nothing that had ever given him nor his team concern.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’m disappointed and devastated that I’ve injured my right elbow in sparring,” Mares said. “This is something that I haven’t had happen to me during my career and the feeling is just horrible. I will be going to see my doctor about this and am prepared to follow whatever recommendations and rehab that gets me back into the ring. I’m healthy, not afraid of doing the work and I will be back. This is a temporary setback. Don’t count me out.”

“Boxing is a sport of brains, passion and physical punishment,” said Mares’ trainer Robert Garcia. “When you’re in the ring sparring with talented, top-class sparring partners, the chances of injuries are very high. That was the situation in this case. He was sparring top young fighters and he injured his elbow. He cannot fight like that, especially in a fight against Davis.”

Mares, who has engaged in numerous memorable fights throughout his storied career, was seeking to move up in weight and looking to capture his fifth world title in a fourth weight class.


Two-Time Super Featherweight Champion Gervonta Davis Defends Title Against Three-Division Champion Abner Mares

Two-Time Super Featherweight Champion Gervonta Davis Defends Title Against Three-Division Champion Abner Mares in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Main Event
Saturday, February 9

Presented by Premier Boxing Champions from StubHub Center (Soon to be Dignity Health Sports Park) in Carson, Calif., & Live on SHOWTIME®

Tickets on Sale Saturday, December 22!

CARSON, CALIF. (December 19, 2018) – Two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis will defend his WBA title against three-division world champion Abner Mares on Saturday, February 9 live on SHOWTIME in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Davis vs. Mares promises fireworks and high-stakes action as both men bring their fan-friendly styles to the ring. Davis, an unbeaten southpaw who earned his nickname “Tank” by powering through opponents, has thunder in both fists with 19 of his 20 fights ending in knockout. Mares, who has engaged in many memorable fights throughout his storied career, will be moving up in weight and looking to capture a world title in a fourth weight class.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions in association with Ringstar Sports, go on sale Saturday, December 22 and can be purchased at

“This matchup is sure to make for a crowd pleaser, as both guys are known for delivering action when they step into the ring,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Mares has an impressive resume and is determined to hand Davis his first loss. Davis has made a lot of noise in the sport at a young age and isn’t slowing down. He executes impressively and continues to prove that he will be the next big star in boxing.”

“Abner Mares is looking to join a select group of boxers by winning a title in his fourth different weight class and carrying that kind of motivation into the ring is the thing that can propel a boxer to greatness,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “We’ve already seen the kind of speed and explosive punching power that Gervonta Davis brings into the ring. I expect that Mares will push him to even higher levels and that is the kind of match that should excite all boxing fans.”

“This is an intriguing matchup for both men at crucial points of their careers,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, SHOWTIME Sports. “Abner Mares has never backed down from a challenge, quietly building one of the strongest resumes in all of boxing while consistently delivering fight-of-the-year performances. In his first fight in the super featherweight division, Abner will be facing Gervonta Davis, one of the strongest, most talented and most exciting young champions in all of boxing. Abner seeks another signature upset in a remarkable career, while Gervonta looks to continue his streak of 11 straight stoppages against the most experienced and accomplished opponent he has faced to date. With these two come-forward, all-action fighters, boxing fans can expect another thrilling Showtime Championship Boxing main event.”

Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) became the youngest reigning American world champion in 2017 when he delivered a star-making performance on SHOWTIME by knocking out Jose Pedraza for the IBF 130-pound title at just 22 years old. He became the youngest two-time world champion in April when he knocked out Jesus Cuellar in the third round of their WBA Super Featherweight Championship bout. The 24-year-old from Baltimore, Md., has earned the reputation as a power-punching menace as he has stopped all but one of his professional opponents.

“I’m very excited to be showcased in my first main event in the United States on February 9,” said Davis. “I want to make a statement in this fight by putting on a tremendous performance against an experienced world champion like Abner Mares. I plan on showing everyone why I belong in pound-for-pound discussions and why I’m the most exciting champion in boxing today. You don’t want to miss it!”

The 33-year-old Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) will be moving up to 130 pounds as he aims to become just the fourth fighter born in Mexico to win titles in four divisions, joining Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Jorge Arce. Mares, who was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and now lives in Montebello, Calif., was a member of the Mexican Olympic boxing team in the 2004 Athens Olympics before going on to win world titles at bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. His two battles for the featherweight world title against Leo Santa Cruz epitomized the kinds of high-volume clashes that have set Mares apart from many of his contemporaries in the same weight classes. He lost a unanimous decision to Santa Cruz in his last fight in June and aims to tackle another weight class on February 9.

“I wanted this fight and I want this challenge against Gervonta Davis,” said Mares. “I’m preparing well and I will add my fifth world title in my fourth weight class on February 9 on SHOWTIME.”

Leo Santa Cruz Outpoints Abner Mares in Rematch to Retain WBA Featherweight World Title by Unanimous Decision

Watch The Encore Presentation Monday At 10 P.M. ET/PT On 
Click HERE for Full-Night Video Recap
Click HERE for Photos from Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES (June 9, 2018) – In an electrifying war that had the STAPLES Center crowd on its feet chanting for more, Leo Santa Cruz defended his WBA Featherweight World Championship by winning a unanimous decision against four-division world champion Abner Mares in their rematch Saturday night on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®.
In almost an exact replica stat-wise of the first fight that Santa Cruz won by majority decision in 2015, the Los Angeles-native and three-division world champion Santa Cruz won on all three of the judges’ scorecards against Mares by scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111.
With the win, Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) takes one more step toward a possible unification fight in the competitive 126-pound division, one of boxing’s deepest.
“It feels great,” Santa Cruz said. “Abner is a great fighter. He left his heart out there. It was a tough fight but thank God we got the victory. I had to be smarter, that’s why it was not a bigger war but it was a good one.”
Similar to the first time the two Mexican-American warriors met, which resulted in more than 2,000 punches being thrown, a total of 1,992 totals punches were thrown in Saturday’s fight with Santa Cruz throwing 1,061 to Mares’ 931. Santa Cruz landed 357 punches compared to 208 for Mares.
Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) started fast, winning the first two rounds on SHOWTIME’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood’s card before Santa Cruz kicked it in another gear and went to work.
“It was a ‘Fight of the Year’ like I told you,” said Mares. “I hope you like the fight because we fought for you, Los Angeles. Win or lose, we did it for the fans. It was a great fight.”
He added: “It is what it is. I don’t want to discuss scores. The judges decided that, and that’s it. I’ll do it again. Let’s do it again. Mares-Santa Cruz 3.”
In what SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo termed a “Featherweight Fiesta,” Santa Cruz dictated the pace from the third round on, utilizing his reach and working off the jab.
Santa Cruz suffered a cut above his left eye in the eighth round. “A cut is a cut, it wasn’t bothering me as much,” Santa Cruz said. “I didn’t let that distract me. I had cuts before. You keep on fighting.”
Mares, a former three-division world champion and a veteran of 10 world championship fights, had famed trainer Robert Garcia in his corner for this fight. “I said it before the fight: whoever wins this fight will be the number one featherweight. Santa Cruz won so he’s No. 1. I tip my hat off to him.”
When asked if he’s the No. 1 featherweight in the division, Santa Cruz replied: “Hopefully I am. I’ll leave it to the fans to decide. I want Gary Russell Jr. next. I want to unify. I’m ready for everyone, whoever and whenever.”
In the co-main event of the doubleheader, Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) recorded a majority decision victory by outpointing former world champion Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KOs) to defend his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship. Charlo’s four-fight knockout streak ended in his third world title defense. Two judges scored it 118-108 and 115-111 in favor of Charlo, and third scored it 113-113.
“Sometimes you knock them out, sometimes you just beat them.” said Charlo, who has now defended his 154-pound title three times. “I went to fish, I tried to get some trout but I couldn’t catch him on the hook. I know they’re used to seeing me knock boys out but at least they saw me take care of business.”
Charlo recorded two knockdowns in the bout. Trout hit the canvas for the first time in the final minute of the third round as Charlo applied heavy pressure, first connecting on a big right followed by a counter left hook that knocked Trout off balance. Just eight seconds into the ninth, Trout went to one knee on a Charlo left hook to the side of Trout’s head. It was the sixth time Trout had been down in his career. Charlo continued to exert punishment on the game but tiring Trout.
“Take those knockdowns away I won the fight,” said the southpaw Trout, 32, who also went the distance in a unanimous-decision loss against Jermell’s twin brother and interim middleweight titleholder Jermall in 2016. “I can’t make any excuses, the better man won with those knockdowns.
“Both Jermell and Jermall are really good. They are the future. But I’m not done yet. I’m not defined by my results. I’m defined by the risks I take. I’ve taken the risks and I’ve stood my ground every time against giants and killers. And I’m still here.”
More accurate than Trout connecting on his punches the entire fight, Charlo went on a relentless attack in the 10th, connecting on multiples power punches that seemed to faze Trout. Charlo continued his attack in the 11th and 12th, choosing to stay upstairs as opposed to going to the body.
“Trout will tell you who will win that fight,” Charlo said of a potential unification with IBF and WBA 154-pound titleholder Jarret Hurd. “That’s why he survived 12. If Hurd sat in front of me and took those shots he’s done.”
During the SHOWTIME BOXING CHAMPIONSHIP telecast it was announced that WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia and IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr. will meet in a 135-pound unification showdown between unbeaten stars Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center.
“We were fighting at 140 but I always had my mind set act coming back to lightweight,” Garcia said. “The only fight that made sense was a unification and the fighter available was Robert Easter Jr. He’s a champion and the man to beat. It’s great to be back to finally give my fans here in Southern California a fight.  Now that we are I get to give them a unification match and the biggest fight of my career to date.”
“I got my fight on July 28, but there’s been a lot of talk about [Vasyl] Lomachenko and me over the past year.  If I get through Robert Easter I’d be unified champ and the only other fight that makes sense is Lomachenko,” he added.
Easter recently changed trainers and is now working with Kevin Cunningham. “Lomachenko and Mikey are two skillful guys in the lightweight division and two guys I want to fight,” Easter said. “Me and Mikey will do the talking in the ring. My height and my reach will give anyone problems as long as I use them skillfully.”
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader will replay on Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares Rematch Features Two of Boxing’s Statistical Best

World Title Showdown Headlines Action Saturday, June 9 Live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles
Santa Cruz & Mares Rank In Top 10 In Three Key CompuBox Categories
NEW YORK (June 4, 2018) – The first matchup between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares was an instant classic, with the fellow three-division champions combining to throw more than 2,000 total punches in one of the best fights of 2015.
Santa Cruz and Mares further solidified themselves as the most active and exciting fighters in boxing in their first showdown, combining to throw over 170 punches per round, more than 50 above the featherweight average at the time.
With the long-awaited rematch between set to take place this Saturday live on SHOWTIME® from STAPLES Center, they once again rank amongst the best fighters in boxing. According to CompuBox, Santa Cruz and Mares rank in the Top 10 in three key statistical categories amongst all active boxers across weight divisions – Average Total Punches Landed Per Round, Average Power Punches Thrown Per Round, and Average Power Punches Landed Per Round (See text box below for statistical overview).
Santa Cruz (No. 2 at 29.5 total punches landed per round) and Mares (No. 9 at 22.3 total punches landed per round) excel at landing shots on their opponent, placing in the top 10 in a category that includes pound-for-pound mainstays Gennady Golovkin (No. 2), Naoya Inoue (No.6), Errol Spence (No. 7) and Vasyl Lomachenko (No. 8).
When it comes to power shots, which is defined as anything that isn’t a jab, Santa Cruz and Mares rank No. 4 and No. 7 in power punches thrown per round and No. 2 and No. 6 in power shots landed per round, respectively.
Additionally, Santa Cruz ranks in the top-three in average total punches thrown per round, one of only three active fighters to average 80 or more punches, along with Roman Gonzalez and Francisco Vargas. Santa Cruz, with a stellar 13-1 record in world title fights, also excels at jabbing, ranking in the top 10 in average jabs thrown per round and average jabs landed per round.
While it seems Santa Cruz has the statistical edge in their rematch, the difference maker could be Mares’ rebirth since teaming up with trainer Robert Garcia. Since training under Garcia when he dethroned Jesus Cuellar in 2016, Mares is connecting at a higher percentage on his power shots (46.9 percent compared to 40 percent in his previous 12 fights) while simultaneously limiting the accuracy of his opponents.
The sample size is small, but Mares, who owns a 7-2-1 record in world title fights, is confident the addition of Garcia, along with his mental toughness, will be the difference maker.
“I can’t go in with the same exact mentality as last time and try to knock Leo’s head off,” Mares said recently. “I have power, but I’m not a one-punch knockout artist. The difference between our fight in 2015 and now is that I’m a more mature and seasoned fighter. I’ve been in this sport a long time, and now with having Robert Garcia in my corner, he’s really helped my mental game and given me great guidance.
“We knew last time, and we know going into this fight, that Leo is a volume puncher. He comes forward and tries to tire you out. But I know that he’s also a vulnerable fighter and I just have to take advantage of it this time.”
While the crowd-pleasing Santa Cruz and Mares may come to the ring with revised game plans for the rematch, Santa Cruz recognizes that everything can change when you get in the ring.
“He says he’s going to box me more this time, but it’s easier to say that than do it,” Santa Cruz said recently. “When you get in the ring and hear the fans, they make you want to brawl. Once you hear the crowd you want to entertain them. You love to hear the people scream.
“I’ve learned a lot since the first Mares fight. I’ve learned how to adjust during a fight better. I’m a more complete fighter and it’s going to help me look even better this time.”
In the opening bout of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® at 10 p.m. ET/PT, unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlowill defend his WBC title against former world champion Austin Trout as part of an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit or click HERE.
Rank Amongst All Active Boxers Across Weight Divisions
Avg. Total Punches Thrown Per Round
Avg. Total Punches Landed Per Round
Avg. Power Punches Thrown Per Round
Avg. Power Punches Landed Per Round
Avg. Jabs Thrown Per Round
Avg. Jabs Landed Per Round
Santa Cruz

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 & Jermell Charlo vs. Austin Trout International Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 & Jermell Charlo vs. Austin Trout
International Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording
Click HERE for Audio Recording
Richard Schaefer
Thank you so much for being on today’s call. Very excited to have all the fighters here. We only have ten days to go until the big Saturday, June 9 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING World Championship double header which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions. Tickets are still available. They begin at $50 here at STAPLES Center. We had a tremendous demand already. The gross gate already exceeds what those two guys did the first time around, so I do expect a sell out at the STAPLES Center.
I want to introduce to you first, Chris DeBlasio, the Senior Vice President of Sports Communications from SHOWTIME. I think Chris wants to make a few opening comments. And of course, I like to always thank my good friend, Stephen Espinoza, for his commitment to the sport as well. Chris, do you want to say a few words?
Chris DeBlasio   
Thanks, Richard and thank you to the fighters for your patience. We’re really excited for this particular fight card. First off, we’re excited to be back in Los Angeles. The fight crowd in Southern California is knowledgeable, excitable, usually star-studded as well. It always makes for a great experience in the arena and that translates onto television and that’s what we’re about, putting on exciting fight cards on our network.
STAPLES Center is a world-class venue. We’re thrilled to be back there. It’s been more than five years since we’ve had an event there. The bottom line is that SHOWTIME continues to lead the boxing industry. We’re delivering the largest slate of live events week after week and month after month. These are the most pivotal match-ups, the most competitive match-ups in boxing’s deepest divisions. It’s just a fact for literally SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event after event.
On Saturday June 9, we have two world title fights with four men ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions. The main event features two guys that are top five ranked champions. The four fighters on this card have a few things in common. First off, they’ve been amongst the most prolific fighters on our network in the recent era. Between Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Jermell Charlo, and Austin Trout, they fought a combined 41 times on SHOWTIME. That includes a few SHOWTIME pay-per-view events. That’s a pretty remarkable number.
Our audience is familiar with their exciting style and their aggressiveness. Secondly — and I think it’s as important or more important really — these guys have consistently sought the top opposition fight after fight. That’s all four of them. Over the past three years, our network has delivered many 154-pound world title fights, many featuring Austin Trout and Jermell Charlo and Saturday will be our 10th.
We continue to see the best fighters fight the best opposition fight after fight and we’re seeing a move closer and closer towards identifying one, true champion, the one man to beat, at super welterweight. And that’s a really exciting prospect in a deep division like that. Likewise, for the main event on Saturday, SHOWTIME has had four high-stakes featherweight bouts on our network in just the past two months. That’s another division that’s long on talent and the stars of the sport are continuing to battle for the top spot fight after fight.
So again, I thank you for your patience and letting me drop that in there. I think it’s important. We’re thrilled at SHOWTIME to be able to put on fights like this with incredible athletes like the four men we have on Saturday. So, Richard, back to you.
R. Schaefer
Thank you Chris. Our main event is the rematch of one of 2015’s most exciting battles, the Featherweight World Championship between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. And finally, we are here again where those two all-action warriors will meet, not only for the bragging rights here in Los Angeles, but really, who is gonna be the king of the 126 pound weight class, one of the deepest weight classes in the sport.
The co-main event pits the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo against the former world champion, Austin Trout. It’s a 12-round co-main event and with Charlo, we have certainly one of the most exciting fighters in the world today, not only with how he performs inside the ring, but his charisma and the way he carries himself outside of the ring as well. So, it’s really a special treat to have Jermell here in Los Angeles defending his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.
He’s going to be facing Austin Trout, a fighter who certainly is one of the craftiest in the sport, has a record of 31 wins with only 4 loses. He is trained now by one of the best trainers in the sport, Barry Hunter. He has been a world champion, former WBA Super Welterweight World Champion. I know he wants to take this opportunity and become a world champion again.
We all remember how he turned back Miguel Cotto at the Madison Square Garden back in 2012 and he was also the last fighter to go the distance with Jermall Charlo, losing to him in May 2015. It’s a pleasure now to turn it over to Austin Trout to make a few opening comments and then open it up for questions. Austin?
Austin Trout      
Yes, I’m happy to be here. I’m ready to get this going. Woken up from a nap and I’ve got training to go to. Let’s go.
R. Schaefer
Let me introduce to you the man, as I mentioned to you before, one of the toughest fighters in the sport, Jermell Charlo. He’s undefeated. He’s the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion. He has a tremendous personality and he’s just knocking out people. He is from Houston, Texas and trained by Derrick James in Dallas. He is now in Santa Monica this month to finish up camp. As a matter of fact, for those of you that are in around Los Angeles, make sure you stop by tomorrow for the open that media workout.
He won his world title with sensational knock-out of John Jackson in 2015. And of course, him and his twin brother, we all know them, became the first twins to hold world titles simultaneously in the same division in boxing which is boxing history in 2015. And it seems like every time he enters the ring, he outdoes his highlight reel knock-out over and over. And it’s a pleasure, it’s a treat, for all fight fans here and around Los Angeles and, those watching live on SHOWTIME to welcome Jermell Charlo to the STAPLES Center on June the 9th. Please, Jermell.
Jermell Charlo
Only thing I got to say is that Austin Trout is a phenomenal fighter. I’m pleased to be able to face off and square up with a former world champion and someone that has a heart, some one that comes with a dog mentality. We’re all looking to put on a 12-round fight for you guys and we both train our asses off in training camp. I’m ready to deliver whatever I have to deliver at the moment.
Austin, what made you change trainers to Barry Hunter and can you tell us how it’s been going in training camp so far?
A. Trout
Yes, I was with Barry like two years. And then when I stayed home for the next few fights against Jarrett Hurd and then Juan DeAngel, the results were not what I needed or wasn’t what I liked. So I went back to what was working and the only reason why I stopped going to Barry was for the Hurd fight because Hurd trained in the same area and that’s where I actually met Hurd was in Barry’s gym, so, I tried to stay home for that.
Which was a big mistake in my opinion. But things are going good, we’re training good. We’re back and we picked up where we left off and I have to be at my best for a fighter like Jermell, so I had to go get to a place where I was able to get to my best.
In the Hurd fight I felt like, I don’t wanna say issues, but I gassed out. It was really dehydration. But at the same time, I think we would have prepared for the heat that Hurd was going to bring, because Barry does know him. The mistake was that he makes you give your best and accept nothing less than your best. I was able not necessarily able to do what I wanted. So we came back to what was working.
Can you compare Hurd and Jermell maybe what they do differently and how they compare as fighters?
A. Trout
Jermell has a boatload more skills. In my opinion, Hurd’s not very skilled, he’s just a big, tough dude. And Jermell, he’s tough and he’s bigger than most junior middleweights, but he’s also skilled. So we gotta worry about definitely his skillset as opposed to just him taking punishment and making you wind out from beating him up, because that’s what happened with Hurd. I just beat him up until I ran out, till I couldn’t beat him up anymore.
I was just worn down. I had to go to the hospital for dehydration which I’ve never experienced. We were throwing some heat for those first six, seven rounds. And we bugged him a couple times and I felt like with just a little bit more and a little bit more each round until I had nothing left. And that’s when he came on.
Jermell, just wondering if you could tell us what you thought of Austin’s performance against Jarrett Hurd?
J. Charlo
Every fight is different. I never like to worry about what they do and what they did different. Fighter’s styles make fights. Like Trout emphasized on earlier, he got worn out and dehydration does that. With Barry, someone who trains you the way you would fight and the way which you would go through the ring, I just believe that, Hurd was a much bigger guy and I’ve never been in there with Trout before, so there’s nothing I can say about his fighting style and what he actually brings to the table.
Do you hope to beat Trout in a more convincing fashion or a more spectacular fashion than Jarrett Hurd did or do you not even think about that?
J. Charlo
I’m not in competition with those guys. Those guys are competition for me. Unfortunately, they just got the fight first before me. I don’t know what Trout going to bring out. So if he brings out the best in me, then who knows what the end result could be. I’m looking to go 12. I’m looking to fight all the way to the end. I’m in dog shape. I’ve been training for a long time and I do a pre-training. I do a pre-camp before I even get into camp and that’s while my brother was getting ready for his fight with Centeno.
I like myself the first day of camp in particular shape. So it’s all about sharpening my skills and doing what I got to do at my best. I’m growing. I’m turning 28 and I got to look at things a little bit differently. And I know Trout is a veteran himself and he knows what’s right and what fits him and what fits his body.
So it’s just almost like, nah, the only thing that’s on my mind is just getting there to see what this body does and what this mindset that I got now does and who knows the results of it. If it looks good, it’s better than Hurd or any other guys, as long as you all watching and you all kicking it with the Charlos and kicking it with Jermell Charlo, we on.
Jermell, your last two fights were contenders for KO of the Year. Can we expect anything of the same in this one?
J. Charlo             
I’m going to do what I got to do like I just answered earlier. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Anything can happen. We both two men putting our life on the line. I don’t know how he views this, but I view it a little bit different. I take this as deep to me. I don’t care about the last fights or what I’ve done before, just like I didn’t know what was going to happen in the Lubin fight. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the Hatley fight.
We in there to go 12. We were in there to fight, be smart, and be cautious and take care of ourselves. So at the end of the day, I don’t care. I don’t know. I’m not with the ruthless. I’m not trying to go in there try to destroy and kill, because I know that’s a mistake that a lot of boxers make.
I grew up watching boxing all my life, and I know for a fact that if you go in there looking for the knockout, it doesn’t come. So therefore, I’m going in there to box, be slick and smart, and be strong at the same time and make it 12 rounds, 36 minutes.
Both Jarrett Hurd and Jaime Munguia, they seem to be heading for England. Where does that leave you as far as title unification goes?
J. Charlo
We could fight in South Africa, I don’t care. As long as they get their fight on and they do what they do, they make the money, they feed they family, we good. They know who the champ is, the know who really the champ is. They know who the guy to come to. They really want some competition and they want to fight, we study this boxing thing, we do this boxing thing. I’m up there, I be there almost every fight this year, if I could make it, I was there. If I was sitting ring side, I was there, you know what I’m saying? And I haven’t fought there so I’m anxious to be in there and I’m ready.
I don’t care about none of them other champions, they got the belts and what they got going on. A lot of these fights that they won was close. This new kid that came out that beat Sadam Ali. He’s nothing like the champions that are reigning now. Austin Trout will beat him and take his title.
However, I’m the best fighter at this weight division and I want to continue to be a champion. I got to continue to feed my family this way and I’m going to do it.
Do you want to outdo your brother against Trout?
J. Charlo             
It’s always been something like that growing up, knowing I wanted to be the best. And my brother considers himself the best, I consider myself the best. He fought Trout and I never fought anyone my brother has ever fought since we’ve become elite fighters. I can’t go by what my brother thinks, he might think Trout is strong, I might think he’s not strong.
I don’t feel that my brother feels that the ring. The only thing I do is I feel the emotion that he has and that’s it. So what my brother done to Trout is back in the day. We’ve grown now in 2018. A lot of things are changing, even technology in the gloves is changing. So there’s no way I could say why my brother didn’t get him out of there or why Trout didn’t do the same or vice versa. I look at Trout like a world champion himself and I’m coming to take his title.
You’ve been sparring with Errol Spence for the last couple of years., Is it a coincidence that both your last opponent and Trout are southpaws as well?
J. Charlo             
I sparred all kind of different south paws growing up and I believe that has a lot to do with why I’m able to handle it well. My poise in the ring and being comfortable and just being comfortable with what I do. We have 12 rounds to get this fight – to get this W. And I got to – whatever round I got to make adjustments, I will.
It’s just the name of the game and the thing that I got to go through in order to get to where I want. These guys are all diverse and if I ever have to face adversity, I’m ready for whatever it takes and I’m ready for whatever I got to do to continue the Charlo Show.
Austin do you see similarities between the Charlos fighting styles given that they’ve grown up working with each other through the years?
A. Trout              
I mean, there’s some similarities, but nah, they two different people. Jermall, he’s a middleweight, but they have – they both have good jabs and a strong right hand. I think Mell has the better skillset he’s been a bit faster. The thing about Mell is I see he takes different approaches to different fights whereas Mall, he kind of comes about each fight the same way.
I watch the fight of me and Mall all week to see what I can do better. Not necessarily to compare in any way. That’s what we watch tape on Mell for.
Dan Rafael:           So having watched the videos and preparing to fight Jermell and having gone 12 round with Jermall, do you have an opinion of who you think is better?
A. Trout
I can’t tell you, man. They both undefeated. I’ll tell you June 9 after I have to fight both of them I can tell you who’s the better fighter. I’m looking more so as to be a better Austin. So, be the best Austin Trout I can be in order to take on the best Jermell Charlo. We not fighting Jermall Charlo/ He’s got his own things that he’s dealing with/
That’s not something that I’m concerning myself with. I just got to be the best me in order to deal with the best Mell.
Do you feel like your career is a little bit on the line here?
A. Trout              
Honestly, I felt that way when I was undefeated. Every fight my career was at stake. If I took a loss, I have to go back to the bottom. I feel like every fights my most important fight.
But I’m feeling good now. I’m looking forward to June 9. I have a feeling that we can steal the show. It’s going to be a great fight. I got this lion in his prime and I’m going in to tame the lion and become world champion again.
You’ve had one round in now what will be, like, 14 months. Any sense of rust?
J. Charlo
I’m rusty as shit, yes. I think I’m rusty as shit, hell yes. Man, I put my life on the line every time I spar. That’s why we spar with world champions. So if the world thinking, like, yes, this kid, he just got one spectacular knock-out, yes, yes, yes, yes. Man, I’ll shut that shit out the way I was supposed to, and I barely touched the kid on the chin and he went to sleep so that mean I must be doing something right in training.
I’m a clean fighter. I eat clean, I train clean. They test me, I’m clean. Everything is right. I’m not a mistake and everybody got a different favorite. I’m promised for something that a lot of different people aren’t promised. My work ethic and abilities are different, and I watch everything that’s going on in the weight division. So with that being said, I have a big fight in front of me.
Austin Trout was talking about coming to steal the show like he just said. He wants to win another world title. That’s enough for me to get on my bike and know that I got to grind this shit out all the way until June 10. So I’m not focused on anything that I did before. I got 12 rounds, 36 minutes to be am animal every time I step in that ring and I’m going to do what I got to do.
We can go to the 10th round and I promise you I will be the same way I am from the first round. If he beat me, that means he’s better than me and I’ve always known that.
How much longer do you think you can hold 154?
J. Charlo             
I ain’t moving up. I’ll tell you all now. I’m making weight. I’m hydrated. Yes, I’m all the way good. Like, I’m right now, I’m waiting on the WBC to – I’m actually for me seven day weigh in and I’m going to surprise them with that. They actually for my 30-day weigh in and they were completely surprised from then. So I’m excited, I love this weight division, especially because I’m separated from my brother. I don’t want to be in the same weight division where it’s almost looking like who the better fighter? Who the better twin?
When it comes down to our careers and stuff, man, different oppositions make different fighters and I’ve always been in there with some of the best in the weight division. I’ve been in there with, to me, some top-tier guys, and so has Trout. You can’t take that away from him at all. He’s fought all of the top guys, everybody. This ain’t a rookie that I’m getting in the ring with. And so, my life is on the line just like his. So may the best win – may the best man win.
Have you had a chance to just kind of reflect on what it says about the career that you’ve had that despite the layoffs and the losses to the top guys in recent fights, that you continue to get big fights and big opportunities like this?
A. Trout              
In a sense, yes, but for real? Nah, not really, because I got to look forward. The past is the past and I’m trying to rewrite my story with the career defining win. Beating Jermell Charlo will be career defining. It will be bigger to me than beating Cotto in the Garden, straight up. People will make excuses for that, but looking back, it’s cool and all, but I ain’t looking towards the past. I’m always looking to the future. And the future, it really is going through Jermell.
Are there pieces from other fighters that you’ve been in with that you can compare to him and what he does well?
A. Trout              
All I can do is just learn the lessons that I need to learn from my past experiences and I’ve learned lessons from fighting Jermall. I’ve learned lessons fighting Hurd. And that’s just building to making a better me. Not necessarily then comparing to Jermell, because, again, he’s a separate man. He’s his own man and all I can focus on really is just being the best I can be.
Is Louie Burke still involved in this camp and can you talk about his role?
A. Trout
Yes, he’s involved. He came out to help be another set of eyes and he knows me. He’s been with me my whole career and even though I am with Barry Hunter, he’s the head coach, I still have him around to keep me grounded and humble. And he was out here for two weeks of this camp and when I was home we’re in the gym working.
We were on the phone and helps with the game plan and then him and Barry are on the same page with the game plan. Everybody’s on the same page and there’s a lot of unity in this camp. So it’s all good.
R. Schaefer         
Yes. All right, now it’s a pleasure for me to introduce to you Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz. These are two guys which I’m very familiar with. I was fortunate to have promoted most of their fights since very early on in their career. In the case of Abner Mares, from his first fight when he came out of the Mexican Olympics. A lot of people leading up to this fight have asked me why did the rematch take that long? The first fight was in 2015. It was a Fight of the Year candidate, it was a toe to toe battle.
It’s sort of like the way those two guys fight. I don’t think Abner Mares or Leo Santa Cruz are capable even if they try and they try really hard to be in a boring fight. They’re there to entertain. They love to fight. And I think if somebody would ask me what is the perfect timing for the rematch, I would have to say it’s June 9, 2018.
Now why do I say that? Well, I think after the first fight, Abner Mares took some time off, he regrouped, he hired a new trainer with Robert Garcia, one of the best trainers in the world and I think Robert has instilled a lot of confidence in him. They mesh extremely well. (Robert) has come up with perfect game plans for Abner in his last two fights and the chemistry is just something which I really have seen very rarely in the sport.
I know as a fact, because I’ve been there with Abner Mares — that he is maybe the best Abner Mares we have seen. Maybe the best Abner Mares ever going back to the time when he was fighting in the super bantamweight tournament on SHOWTIME as well.
With Leo Santa Cruz, last week was the open media day here in Los Angeles, and what I came away with is I was very impressed. I was of course impressed with Leo Santa Cruz. He looked spectacular. He looked fast. He looked strong. But what I was made even more so impressed with his father.
As we all know, his father suffered cancer; wasn’t really much of a factor in Leo’s last few camps and that clearly weighed on Leo’s shoulders. And now to see Leo’s father in full strength, making comments, “I defeated, I KO’d cancer.” You can just see how that weight has been lifted off Leo’s shoulders.
So I have no doubt that we will see the best Leo Santa Cruz we have seen in many years, and we will see the absolute best Abner Mares. I think the timing is perfect for June the 9th for those two guys meeting each other again at the famous STAPLES Center which always brings out the best in the fighters.
It’s a pleasure now for me to introduce to you first Abner Mares; doesn’t need much of an introduction. We all know a 2004 Mexican Olympian, pound-for-pound, one of the best and most exciting fighters in the world, born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and now fighting out of Los Angeles with a record of 32 wins, two losses. He is a multi-division world champion; always fighting the best, from 118 to 126 pounds. It’s a pleasure for me to turn it over now to Abner Mares to make some opening comments.
Abner Mares      
Thank you, Richard, for the introduction. Thank you to the media. Thank you to all you guys.
I am on my way home from a hard work day and I am ready for June 9. I cannot wait. It’s only less than two weeks, almost a week. And I’m just looking forward to another spectacular night where it would be the best, maybe another one for the books. Thank you.
R. Schaefer
The other man is the world champion, Leo Santa Cruz with the record of 34 wins and one loss and one draw. As I mentioned before, he’s the one who throws punches in bunches. He is in spectacular shape. He is a multi-division world champion as well; 118, 122 and 126 pounds. In a stellar victory over Carl Frampton where he regained the featherweight world title.
I think, given the fact that his father feels so much better, I think, I can see a different Leo Santa Cruz. And it’s a pleasure for me now to introduce to you as well, my friend, Leo Santa Cruz.
Leo Santa Cruz  
Thank you, Richard, for the introduction. And thank you for the media and thank you for everyone who’s in here.
I’m ready for June 9. I know Mares is going to come with his best but he looks really good. He’s a great guy, great person. And he was the best, one of the best fighters out there. The best fights the best. It’s a guaranteed great fight on June 9. We’ll give a great fight for our fans and we’re ready to just go out there and entertain the fans.
Does your experience with that Frampton rematch give you confidence going into this rematch with Abner Mares?
L. Santa Cruz
I’m confident in every fight. I’m not going to go in there with the mindset that, “Oh no I’m going to lose”. I live by my confidence and my training. I train really hard. I give 100% in my training. And now with my dad in my corner, he’s been a lot better, I’ve been able to focus more in my training and everything.
I know Abner is a great fighter. He’s been training really hard. He’s at his best. He’s got a new trainer. So he’s going to come by his best, I know that so far. I like that when they give their best, it makes me work even harder and bring out my best too.
I’m confident in my training, what I’m doing, doing everything good. And June 9 we’ll see how it goes and hopefully my fight is still great and everything we worked in the gym and give a great fight.
Have you seen any weakness in Leo that gives you more confidence going into this rematch?
A. Mares             
I don’t look at tapes, to be honest. I let my coach do that. Obviously I do remember that fight because I did watch it. I was there live. And I mean all I could say from that fight is that you go in looking for certain things and I’ve seen what I need to execute and we’re going to put them to work come June 9.
It’s going to be a great fight, close fight. We’re both in our prime, in our moment like we were in the first fight. And I’m just ready to execute the perfect plan that we have.
Leo what did you feel in your spirit, in your body, in your mind, was there anything missing that night you lost to Frampton as compared to your victory over Frampton in January of last year?
L. Santa Cruz
Yes, you know, I think it was more I wanted to see my dad. In the first fight against Carl Frampton, my dad wasn’t really with me, he was mostly in the clinic or in the hospital. He had surgery. He has that experience to tell me what type of fight to fight in. So I think that was the missing key right there.
Then for the rematch my dad was mostly there in the gym. He told me what kind of fight to fight in. What punches to throw and stuff like that. And so I think it was my dad. My dad was the difference in that fight.
I wonder because you’re fighting him in a rematch and you did get that victory in that fight, is there any part of you that says to yourself, “You know what, I beat this guy.” And it’s a little bit harder maybe to motivate yourself?
L. Santa Cruz
I’m more motivated. Like I said, I don’t want to underestimate Abner Mares. I know Mares is at his best. He’s in his prime. He looked a lot better now. And I am a lot better than the first fight so it makes me train even harder/ I have learned a lot too.
So I think you’re going to see a better fight because Mares is going to give his best. He looked the best he had looked. And I’m more motivated. I don’t want to underestimate him.
It’s going to be a hard fight but we have done everything in the gym to get the victory. We have to work hard and we have worked on things that we have seen that worked on him and that’s what we’re going to do. But I know it’s going to be a hard fight and it’s going to tough, but we’re going to go out there and do our best.
What is it that makes you say that you believe that Abner is better now than he was when you fought him three years ago?
L Santa Cruz      
He looks good. He fights differently. He has Robert Garcia as his trainer. Robert Garcia is a great trainer; very smart and driven. He knows how to send a fighter to fight. I have seen him and you could see in his training that he is working really hard and everything. But we like that. We like that because he’s going to come in his best and we’re going to give a better fight.
Do you view Robert as that big of a difference and one of the reasons you believe that he is better today than he was three years ago?
L. Santa Cruz
Yes. I know Robert. Robert is a great trainer and I know he might make a difference. But I also have learned a lot. I got a lot of experience over these few years. And whatever he has learned, I have learned too. And I think it’s going to come down to who wants it the most and I think it’s going to be a great fight/
Do you think about a unification fight after this fight, if you’re successful or do you think about maybe moving up in weight?
L Santa Cruz
I want a unification. Hopefully because of the win, I would like to unify with any other champion. There’s Josh Warrington, Gary Russell, Oscar Valdez and even a third fight against Carl Frampton.
So if the fight is going to make it, I’ll be right there. But for any reason or anything that we can’t make those unifications or any other fights, yes, I would like to move up to 130 and look for another title for 130. But mostly I want to make a fight against another one of the champions.
Does the Gary Russell Jr fight interest you more than any other at featherweight after this fight is successful?
L. Santa Cruz
Yes, it is. I fought Gary in an amateur. We both went to the finals. He beat me but I’m a lot better now. Hopefully it does happen and I can say that I could beat him.
Do you go in there trying to pick up where you left off and thinking like round 13 against Santa Cruz?
A. Mares
I’m not going to focus on the first fight. It happened already. That’s in the past. It was a great fight and now we’re moving forward. I think Leo brought up a good point, a really awesome point I think that we’re both better fighters now. I’ve grown as a fighter. I’ve learned so much with Robert and with the two Frampton fights he has too. I think he’s grown as an athlete.
So I think now you’re going to get in to some better fights because we just learned so much and then grown in boxing that we’re just going to give it to this fight. But at the end of the day I think where we’re both improved as fighters. We just like to please the crowd.
Are we going to see fight number three after you win this one?
A. Mares             
If the fight is that good, again, there’s no other way than to give them the rematch as he gave me a rematch. We like to fight the best and if it wasn’t clear enough, we would do it again and if not, we’ll move forward and take whatever champion is out there.
I think that everybody is a champion. Everybody is good. And just looking forward to June 9 to prove me once again that I am an elite fighter.
Can you tell us where your dad is at in his recovery?
L. Santa Cruz
Thank you very much for asking for my dad. Right now my dad, he is in complete remission. His cancer is zero right now. So anything that he has is like he has back pain, like he’s always like feeling nauseous, he’s feeling sick, he’s throwing up. But even though, it doesn’t stop him to keep going to the gym every day. He’s right there observing me, telling me what to do in the gym and everything. He’s been there every day.
I’m glad to have him in there. And every time I do good in the gym and I do what he wants, it makes him happy and he forgets about all the pain and everything he’s feeling. So again thank you for that and, yes, my dad is, he’s in complete remission and he’s feeling a lot better than before.
How much of a weight was that lifted off of you just to know that your dad was going to be okay moving forward?
L. Santa Cruz     
I think my dad is the most important thing right now. And knowing that he has cancer and everything and before I really couldn’t concentrate in my training because I was thinking about if he’s going to be with me in the camp or if he’s going to be with me in the fight or if he’s going to wake up today or tomorrow.
But right now I’ve been dedicated to my gym. I’ve been focused in the gym. Now I can focus and I could relax and I don’t have to worry about dad. I haven’t really been thinking about that. I’m just been thinking about training and then going out there and giving a great fight.
My last fight he was there. He missed a couple of days but he was mostly almost every day in the camp.
Abner what do you think that was like for Leo to go through as a son?
A. Mares             
I know he’s going through a hard time and I respect him as an individual, as a person, a father, it’s just tough what they’re going through. And I’m always wishing them the best. And God be with them.
Will it be harder to stay disciplined when you’re facing each other because you guys are both Mexican and want to go at it?
A. Mares             
I think it is going to be difficult because the atmosphere, the first was intense. It’s going to be double that. And it’s going to be super hard. So again that’s why we keep addressing that the fight is going to turn out to be a fan-fest type of fight because I just know we both compete like that.
L. Santa Cruz     
Yes, I know, it’s tough because we’re going to be fighting on our home town. We’re both from here. Abner Mares is a great guy but I have to beat him. We have to fight for our family and we have to live for our future.
At the end of the day, whoever wins, I thank God and I hope that we both come out clean. We just want to go out there and give a great fight.
What kind of improvements have you seen from Mares?
L. Santa Cruz     
Mares has more speed. He has thrown more punches. He has better defense and everything. He has improved. He improved a lot since our first fight. But also I have improved. I have learned. I have experienced a lot. And I had a lot of life experiences.
So I think we’re both going to be on our best. We will both going to go out there and give everything in the ring. And we were going to go out there and give a great fight for the fans and that’s I think what the fans love and we’re just happy to entertain the fans and give them a great show.
Can you tell us what your game plan is against Abner Mares?
L. Santa Cruz
Well my game plan for this is to be smart. I’m going to be a smart fighter. When the first bell rings, I’m going to go out there and see what type of fight Mares brings and it depends on the fight he brings, we’re going to adjust.
My dad he could tell me to box, he could tell me to brawl. We think we’re going to fight different fight. It depends on Mares how he comes to fight, that’s how we’re going to fight. But we’re going to be smart, bigger shots, intelligent and on June 9 when the first bell rings, that’s when we’re going to know how to fight him.
What kind of adjustments are you – have you been making for this rematch? And is it a question of a balance between boxing and brawling?
A. Mares             
I’m making every single adjustment I can that is in my power and that I can do physically. As an athlete, we started from the training methods, to everything. We just have to change it all. People ask me, Abner, are you going to fight differently this fight? “Yes, if I don’t fight this one, then I’m going to get a defeat.” So I think that’s the best way to answer them.
Abner, looking back on that first fight, how do you evaluate that strategy that you had and what did you learn from that experience for this fight?
A. Mares
I learned a lot in that fight. Going in that very first round, I got ahead of myself. I got just anxious. I honestly and I’ve been saying it pretty loud, I’ve been open about it. I just wanted to win this fight so bad all I thought about was tearing his head off.
It just got a little confusing there in the corner with directions. But nevertheless, it was a great fight. I think I fought a lot more with heart and desire than technique in that fight.
In that first fight there was enormous amount of punches thrown. Are we going to expect to see something like that?
L. Santa Cruz
Well I think we could expect maybe not as much punches but almost the same punches, because we have learned, right there I throw a lot of punches and I miss a lot. But this time we’re going to try to throw more selective punches that more punches that land.
So whatever I throw, we want to make sure that they land. We don’t want to throw just to throw. So I think we’re going to be smarter and select our punches and just make them count. Make our punches count and we’re still going to throw a lot of punches, be active and Mares is at his best, I’ll be at my best. It’s going to be a great fight and we’ll both going to go and throw a lot of punches. You guys are going to see back and forth fireworks.
Would you like to make a prediction, Leo, for the fight?
L. Santa Cruz
I’m most confident. You never know what’s going to happen. Mares is a great fighter and we’ll see what happens on June 9. We’re going to go out there and look for the victory.
We’ve been training for 12 rounds. If we go 12 rounds, we’re ready for the 12 rounds. If the opportunity comes, we’re going to go for a knockout. But I’ll be happy to come out with a victory.
Abner, would you like to make a prediction also?
Abner Mares
My prediction is June 9, hell of a fight. Thank you so much.
R. Schaefer         
Well I can echo that from Abner and from Leo, it’s going to be an amazing night here at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. It’s going to be a loaded card as well. One of the most talked about blue chip Olympians from the Rio Olympics, Karlos Balderas from Santa Maria is going to be on the card as well.
So make sure fight fans come early to STPLES Center on June the 9th. As little as $50 you’re going to see these two world championship fights. I have no doubt that both of those fights are going to deliver and over deliver.
These guys are in their best shape I have ever seen them. Both want it and it’s going to come down to may the better man win on June the 9th.

“Crosstown Battles” A Los Angeles Boxing History Lesson – Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 Saturday, June 9 Live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles

“Crosstown Battles”

A Los Angeles Boxing History Lesson

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 Saturday, June 9 Live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an Event Presented by Premier Boxing Champions

“Los Angeles, one of the world’s greatest boxing cities, has probably developed more sensational box-office attractions than any other city.”

– Hap Navarro, Hollywood Legion Stadium matchmaker,


LOS ANGELES (May 30, 2018) – The first Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares clash, a candidate for “Fight of the Year” in 2015, was a hard fought crosstown Los Angeles battle for supremacy in the featherweight division won by Santa Cruz via a 12-round majority decision at STAPLES Center on August 29.

This Southern California natural hometown bash produced a strong live gate to go along with a peak of 1.641 million viewers on ESPN, their strongest numbers since 1998. The fierce, bloody war left Mares unfulfilled until their long-awaited rematch could be finally realized three years later. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast on Saturday, June 9 is approaching as we await the exciting, high-voltage return of Santa Cruz vs. Mares.

Historically, Los Angeles has been the hotspot for slugfests between legendary local Mexican-American fighters. Known for their big hearts in the ring, Mexican-American boxers have electrified fans with their explosiveness and courage. When you mix in the fact that Southland boxing fans are loyal to the end, you have the ingredients for the much anticipated barnburner between Los Angeles-based rivals, Santa Cruz vs. Mares.

The rematch is bound to instill and bolster Mexican national pride in the hearts of the growing Southland Latino boxing community. STAPLES Center will surely be divided equally between those rooting for either Santa Cruz or Mares. With this fight just over a week away, we look back to similar exciting bouts between popular Los Angeles fighters.

A strong bitterness carried over from many years earlier was in full force during the pre-fight build up between former sparring partners and former world champions Mando Ramos and Raul Rojas. These Harbor-area fighters openly played mind-games with each other and tossed hateful personal insults back-and-forth in order to gain a psychological edge. In this crucial crossroads fight for both, Ramos, of Long Beach, was led to believe that San Pedro’s Rojas was not in shape. Ramos proceeded to take it easy and coasted during training camp. When word got out that Rojas was in top-form, it occurred to Ramos that he’d been had. Still, Ramos mustered enough salvo to knockout Rojas in six rounds on December 10, 1970 at the Olympic Auditorium.

Ramos helped write another chapter of boxing history in the area as the long-awaited grudge match between two popular Chicano icons, Ramos and Ruben Navarro, also pitted the neighborhoods of Harbor vs. Maravilla against each other. The two fighters, who had been mouthing off to one another for three years, finally agreed to meet in the ring to claim exclusive bragging rights for the title of “best lightweight in town.” Former world lightweight champion Ramos pulled off a close 10-round unanimous decision over top-contender Navarro, “The Maravilla Kid” of East L.A., at the Olympic Auditorium on September 30, 1971.

In one of the most anticipated dream matches in Los Angeles boxing history, “Schoolboy” Bobby Chacon, of Sylmar, knocked out Danny “Little Red” Lopez, of Alhambra, in the ninth round to win the mythical “City Featherweight Championship.” Chacon was in his wheelhouse all night long, rocking Lopez repeatedly with his right hand throughout the fight. This clash of local rising stars in the featherweight division, promoted by Aileen Eaton and the Olympic Boxing Club, occurred in front of a sold-out crowd of 16,027 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on May 24, 1974. The fight produced so much interest that another 2,671 fans watched on closed-circuit TV at the Olympic Auditorium, located on the corner of 18th & Grand in downtown Los Angeles. Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times wrote in 1995 about the fight as a measuring stick for boxing fan passion in the area, saying “you would have to go back to Chacon-Lopez to find such excitement for a pair of Los Angeles fighters.”

It was the first time in boxing history that two college graduates fought for the world title when WBC welterweight champion Carlos Palomino, of Westminster, successfully defended his title against Armando Muniz, of Montebello, by 15th-round TKO at the Olympic Auditorium on January 21, 1977. Many local boxing writers called this knockdown, drag-out war, the “Fight of the Year”, and in the rematch held May 27, 1978 at the same venue, Palomino once again stopped Muniz, this time by 15-round unanimous decision.

Santa Cruz and Mares grew up together on the same Southern California boxing scene. Both appeared on many of the same boxing cards, and Santa Cruz even picked up an IBF bantamweight belt vacated by Mares. Now, for these two Mexican warriors with almost identical boxing statistics, the road to greatness leads them both once more to STAPLES Center for surely another sensational ring-war.

Come fight night on June 9, 2018, the boxing world will be treated to another classic Los Angeles slugfest between two certified Mexican warriors. This bout truly promises to be the next chapter written in the long history of exciting Los Angeles crosstown battles. Nearly three years in the making, anticipation will be high and a screaming audience again on their feet, as they witness Mares’ quest for redemption in his rematch with Santa Cruz. As popular and well-liked as these two hometown heroes are in the Southland boxing community; there will be only one fighter who will walk out of STAPLES Center with his hands raised tall. May the best man win.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit or click HERE.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also feature unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo defending his title against former world champion Austin Trout as part of an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Leo Santa Cruz Los Angeles Workout Quotes & Photos

Leo Santa Cruz Los Angeles Workout Quotes & Photos
Featherweight World Champion Santa Cruz Rematches Four-Time World Champion Abner Mares Saturday, June 9 Live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles & Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
Click HERE for Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES (May 22, 2018) – Featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruzhosted a media workout in Los Angeles Tuesday as he prepares for his world title rematch against four-time world champion Abner Mares Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also feature unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo defending his title against former world champion Austin Trout.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit or click HERE.
Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. The consensus top-five featherweights will look to put on a repeat of the performance that saw them throw over 2,000 punches combined.
Santa Cruz was joined at City of Angels Boxing Tuesday by his father and trainer, Jose Santa Cruz, and Ringstar Sports Chairman and CEO Richard Schaefer. Here is what they had to say Tuesday:
“I think Abner has looked better in recent fights, but not so much that he looks unbeatable or anything. He’s shown some improvements but I feel I’ve gotten much better as well. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m going to come out victorious.
“He says he’s going to box me more this time, but it’s easier to say that than do it. When you get in the ring and hear the fans, they make you want to brawl. Once you hear the crowd you want to entertain them. You love to hear the people scream.
“I’m going to try to go out there and give the fans a great fight like I always do. I feel like I’m in great condition right now. I feel a lot stronger and even my dad has told me this is as good as he’s seen me look.
“I’ve learned a lot since the first Mares fight. I’ve learned how to adjust during a fight better. I’m a more complete fighter and it’s going to help me look even better this time.
“I’m still as motivated as ever. I have the same hunger as if this fight was for my first title. I never underestimate anyone and always give it my all in the gym. It’s no different heading into this one.
“We’re going to try to win bigger this time but I’ll be ready to go 12 rounds. I’d definitely love to stop him. If the knockout comes it comes, and if I see an opening I’m going to take advantage.
“I try to motivate my dad as much as I can by training hard. He says he’s happiest when I’m working hard so I just keeping trying to push it every day and make sure he’s happy.
“The two fights with Frampton definitely made me a better fighter. They gave me a lot of experience and I learned a lot from those fights. I know I’m going to be a better fighter for this fight than the first time we fought.
“We always prepare for 12 rounds. I’ve been going 13 rounds in sparring because my dad always likes to go one extra. This has been one of the best camps we’ve had as far as conditioning and sparring.
“I am ready to unify with any of the featherweight champions. Me and Gary Russell Jr. fought in the amateurs. He beat me but it was a good fight and I believe I can beat him. I know the tactics I’d use. Hopefully I can get my rematch.
“We’re focused on improving everything in camp. We’re working on my power, speed, foot work and all of the skills it will take to win this rematch.”
JOSE SANTA CRUZ, Leo’s Father & Trainer
“The first fight with Mares was a bit rough and even dirty at times. After four rounds I felt like they were stealing the fight from us so I told Leo to tire him out and show that he’s the better boxer. The results of the fight proved that.
“There are a lot of great fighters out there but not many have good defensive techniques and that is where every fighter can improve. With my kids and with Leo I have always trained him to be good defensively because anyone can throw punches but not everyone can take a punch and keep going. I have always loved this sport but I love to win even more. Leo is still growing but I think he’s the best fighter at featherweight right now.
“I definitely think that Mares will come with new skills to this fight and have a different approach with his new trainer now that he’s with Robert Garcia. I think he’ll try to box more and look to get us on the counterpunch.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“Leo is the kind of fighter who always rises to the occasion and always finds a way to come out victorious. It’s really a 50-50 fight. I can give you a lot of reasons why both guys are going to win. It’s the best fight on June 9 and it’s one of the best fights you’re going to see this year.
“Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares are never going to be in a boring fight. They create special action and drama in the ring. The winners are going to be the fight fans every time.
“This is an important fight for both of these guys. It’s about bragging rights in Los Angeles and in the loaded featherweight division. I know that it’s going to bring out the best in both fighters.
“Leo won a very narrow decision that could have gone either way, but Leo pulled it out in the first fight. Abner and Robert Garcia have meshed really well and Robert has been able to bring the best out of Abner. He’s going to give Leo Santa Cruz a great challenge again and with the fight in Los Angeles, the fans will definitely propel both guys to go extra hard.
“These are the kind of fights that fans love. This is the kind of fight that transcends boxing. These are two fighters who are just incapable of being in a boring fight. They put people on their feet.”

Abner Mares Media Workout Quotes & Photos

Four-Time World Champion Mares Rematches Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz Saturday, June 9 Live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles & 
Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
Click HERE for Photos from Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME
Click HERE for Robert Garcia Training Camp Video from 
Team Mares
RIVERSIDE, CA. (May 16, 2018) – Four-time world champion Abner Mares, along with trainer Robert Garcia, hosted media at their training camp in Riverside, California Wednesday ahead of the featherweight world title rematch between Mares and Leo Santa Cruz Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also feature unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo taking on former world champion Austin Trout in the co-main event.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit or click HERE.
Mares and Garcia put media through a workout of their own before Mares stepped into the ring to show off his skills. Here is what Mares and Garcia had to say Tuesday from the Robert Garcia Gym:
“I feel great right now. I’m strong and in really good spirits. I feel like I’m going to be peaking at the right time. I’m on weight and on track for fight night.
“I have to be a poised and relaxed Abner Mares on June 9. I can’t go in with the same exact mentality as last time and try to knock Leo’s head off. I have power, but I’m not a one-punch knockout artist.
“I trained well for the first fight but I got tired toward the end of the fight. I got desperate and frustrated at times and it took a toll on my body. Now we’re here and I’m happy to have my chance at redemption.
“I’m confident because I have such an experienced trainer in my corner. I’m just trying to be the student to his master teachings and absorb everything he tells me. I’m always asking him to push me and tell me when he needs more from me.
“The difference between our fight in 2015 and now is that I’m a more mature and seasoned fighter. I’ve been in this sport a long time, and now with having Robert Garcia in my corner, he’s really helped my mental game and given me great guidance.
“There’s no doubt that Leo and myself will both train hard and be ready physically for fight night. This fight won’t be about physical strength, it’s going to be about the mental tools we have and the ability that we both have to adjust during the fight.
“We knew last time and we know going into this fight that Leo is a volume puncher. He comes forward and tries to tire you out. But I know that he’s also a vulnerable fighter and I just have to take advantage of it this time.
“There’s nothing to say right now, the talking between me and Leo is going to take place in the ring on June 9. I would just tell him to be ready for the best Abner Mares.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Mares’ Trainer
“This is probably the biggest fight of Abner’s career and the biggest since me and Abner have teamed up together. This is a fight that Abner wanted very badly and as his trainer, I want this win badly.
“We know that this isn’t going to be an easy fight. But the way that Abner has been training and the way that he follows instructions, it’s going to make a big difference in his performance June 9 compared to the first fight.
“I was at the first fight and I thought that Abner looked for big single punches too much and fought too rough of a fight. He made it harder on himself. It was still a very close fight despite that.
“With a little more speed and by fighting smart going in and out, Abner could make a huge leap in his performance this time out. We know we have to look to throw combinations and break Leo down.
“We’ve been getting sparring partners that are a little taller and throw a lot of punches and the results have been great. Abner just has to be in shape to 12 rounds, because Leo is a fighter that finishes as strong as he starts. We can’t perform for eight rounds and then tire out because there’s a chance Leo comes on strong and puts us in trouble.”

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 Los Angeles Press Conference Quotes & Photos

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 Los Angeles Press Conference Quotes & Photos
Featherweight World Champions Battle Saturday, June 9 In World Title Rematch Live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles & Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
Click HERE for Photos from Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2018) – Featherweight world champions Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares met face to face at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday and discussed their world championship rematch taking place Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now To purchase tickets visit or click HERE.
Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday at the open to the public press conference from STAPLES Center in Star Plaza in Los Angeles:
“It was a really close fight the first time. Before the fight, I told him I would give him the rematch, just like I would have wanted if I lost. Now is the time and I think this fight is going to be even better than the first fight. Mares will be better with Robert Garcia. He has many champions and I’ve seen the improvement. That’s great motivation for me.
“I know he’s going to seek revenge, but I’m not going to let that happen. My dad is a smart man too and he always knows how to send me to the ring with the right style.
“When two Mexicans get in there, you know it’s going to be a war. I hope everyone comes out June 9 because it’s going to be a fight to remember.
“Every time I step into the ring, I do it for the fans. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I always want the fans to go home happy. I want to give the fans a great show on June 9 just like in the first fight.
“I think that Abner is going to be a little smarter than the first fight. He said in the first fight he didn’t train for the right fight. I know Robert Garcia will have him bring a smarter fight. We’ll be able to adjust and do what we have to do to win this one.
“I have to make some little changes. There will be adjustments. We have to be prepared to box. I’ll listen to what my dad tells me to do. We’ll know early and take it from there. I know how to fight different styles, but brawling is what the fans love. I’m going to do that while still being smart in the ring.
“This fight is dedicated to my dad as he battles cancer. The only way I can pay him back or try to lift his spirits is to train hard in the gym and give him this win. If he sees me not giving up, I think it will give him the courage to keep fighting his battle.
“It was hard after the loss to Carl Frampton. I got a lot of fan support that inspired me to get back to training and win my title in the rematch. My plan was to retire undefeated, but at the end of the day, the loss means nothing. As long as I give the fans great fights, that’s all that matters.”
“This is going to be another great one. Leo Santa Cruz is a great person and a humble guy. You have to be the bad guy against Leo. I could talk about what I’m going to do in the ring, but my fists and my brain will do the work for me.
“Once we get in the ring, you already know what it’s going to be. It was war from the first bell last time. Nothing could stop either of us. We pleased the fans and gave them a great night. This is going to be the same thing. We’re two young fighters, fighting for pride.
“The fight is here now and it’s official. I’m eager to get this win and get redemption. There were things I could have done that would have made the fight easier for myself. Once you get in there, I know we all have a plan, but once you hear the crowd, it can go out the window. I’m a warrior and that type of fighter who’s looking to get the win no matter what.
“I’m not worried about the decision in the first fight. I think he landed the clearer punches but it was definitely a close fight. I was happy with my performance as far as pleasing the crowd. I’ve moved on to the rematch. I’m going to make adjustments and get the win.
“I can talk about how I’ve changed, but you just need to look at my last two performances. People thought Jesus Cuellar was going to knock me out, but I was the one who dropped him That lets you know what type of team I have and what kind of Abner Mares you will see on June 9.
“It feels good to be back fighting Leo for the second time at STAPLES Center. Every time I fight here in Los Angeles the people show me love. This is my hometown and STAPLES Center is my house.
“I’ve always seen holes in Leo’s game that I can take advantage of. It’s a matter of going in there with the perfect game plan. I feel like there’s no way I can lose this fight. That makes it a more exciting fight. If he wants to box, I’m more natural than him doing that. We’ll see who’s done their homework and who can translate it to the ring.”
JOSE SANTA CRUZ, Santa Cruz’s Father & Trainer
“My fight with cancer is the toughest one of all. But I’m fighting very hard and I’m not going anywhere. I’m right there by Leo’s side all the way for this fight.
“For the first fight for Frampton, I had to try to prepare Leo from a distance. This fight is different because I’m right there every step of the way. I’m telling him what to do and guide him every day.
“I think Leo is even more prepared this time than for the first fight with Mares. Leo is doing great mentally because he’s such a brave kid. I tell him not to worry about me and to keep working hard. He seems really motivated right now. He knows he’s doing well.
“Right now we’re working on maintaining speed, being smart and not looking for too much of a clash of a fight. I know Leo can win with his speed and his brain. He’s learning and growing as a fighter. I think Mares has reached his peak. Robert Garcia is a great trainer, but at a certain point, there’s nothing the fighter can do to surprise anyone.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Mares’ Trainer
“I was there live for the first fight and it was a great matchup. I knew then that Abner was much better than the fight he gave that night. He left the fans happy, which is all that matters to him. But with me in the corner, it should be a different fight.
“I think the fans have seen what we’ve done with Abner for his last two fights and they know that it’s going to lead to a totally different outcome in this fight.
“Abner tried to blitz Leo from the first bell and he knows that was a mistake. Leo is a tremendous fighter and you can never count Leo out. He takes a great punch and throws a lot. I think working with me for three years now will work out in Abner’s favor.
“Leo always goes out and pleases the crowd. That’s what he loves to do. It’s my job to get Abner to fight smart and not focus on the crowd. He has to focus on what I’m telling him. I’ll do what I have to to make sure he is.
“We’ve been training already for a little over a month. Sparring will start next week. Having Abner in the gym, we’ve taken his strength and conditioning to a level where he’s really doing the right work. He’s giving me good work each day so I know he’s focused.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“This is one of the most anticipated fights of the sport. It’s a rematch we’ve all been waiting for between great warriors in Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.
“STAPLES Center has a rich tradition of bringing the best and biggest fights in Los Angeles here to this fantastic venue. STAPLES Center always seems to bring out the best in fighters as they fight under the brightest lights.
“Week after week we are witnessing great battles and great matchups on SHOWTIME. Every week is another ‘Fight of the Year’. They are pushing the best to fight the best and that is what we are going to see with these two great fighters on June 9 in Los Angles.
“We all witnessed the great first fight. Over 2,000 punches were thrown between these two fighters. It’s impossible when you have Leo and Abner in the ring to see a boring fight. We are going to have the pleasure of seeing these two guys going again. Once again, it’s a 50-50 fight. We don’t know who’s going to win, but we do know it will be all action here at STAPLES Center.
“Abner is a tremendous fighter inside of the ring and one of the most decorated fighters in recent history to come out of Mexico, but he’s equally impressive outside of the ring. He has a fantastic family and is truly one of the good guys in the sport of boxing.
“I’ve known Leo and his family for a long time and have been involved in many of his fights. He is truly, just like Abner, a family man who just so happens to be one of the best fighters in the world. He’s certainly one of the most exciting fighters in the world and it’s my pleasure to be able to watch him fight again on June 9.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“This is going to be an incredible night. Los Angeles has always been a great fight town going back more than a hundred years. Any time you put two Mexican warriors together like this, you can’t help but get another great fight night in Los Angeles.
“In the first fight, Santa Cruz won an incredibly hard fought decision over Mares. From the opening bell they blasted away at each other, the crowd went wild and there was an all-out brawl underway for 12 grueling rounds.
“The last fight with this kind of significance in Los Angeles was when Bobby Chacon stopped Danny ‘Little Red’ Lopez in a now legendary featherweight fight in 1974. They fought for the mythical city championship on that night. While there are world titles on the line in this fight, I also know that these fighters have a lot of pride in Los Angeles and they’ll be fighting for the championship of this city on June 9.”

Featherweight World Champions Leo Santa Cruz & Abner Mares Square-Off in World Title Rematch Presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, June 9

Featherweight World Champions Leo Santa Cruz & Abner Mares Square-Off in World Title Rematch Presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, June 9 from STAPLES Center in
Los Angeles & Live on SHOWTIME
Tickets on Sale Today at 12:00 p.m. PT
LOS ANGELES (April 2, 2018) – A rematch between featherweight world champions and Southern California rivals Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will headline action Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale today at 12:00 p.m. PT. To purchase tickets visit or click HERE at 12:00 p.m. PT.
Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) and Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) first met in August 2015 at STAPLES Center and went toe-to-toe for 12 fast-paced rounds, with Santa Cruz eventually earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.
The initial matchup garnered “Fight of the Year” recognition and warranted a rematch between the consensus top five featherweights who will look to put on a repeat of the performance that saw them throw over 2,000 punches combined.
“This is a fight that fans have been clamoring for and a fight that is certain to deliver action and drama,” said Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports. “This is once again a true battle for Los Angeles, with only one man able to walk out of STAPLES Center with that crown as the best in the city. Fans should get their tickets early, because this is sure to be a hot ticket given the styles of each man and the motivations they have to win this fight. I can’t wait to see what happens on June 9 and I look forward to another memorable fight.”
“It is rare that a rematch is as highly anticipated as the initial match, but Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 is one of those rematches,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “Since their first match both Leo and Abner have gone on to solidify their positions at the top of the featherweight division, making a second meeting between them even more compelling. The winner will definitely become the man sitting at the top of a very competitive 126-pound division.”
“We are incredibly excited for this rematch of Southern California rivals to take place at STAPLES Center,” Lee Zeidman, President, STAPLES Center.” Boxing fans are in for an amazing night of fights in downtown Los Angeles on June 9th.”
“SHOWTIME is proud to deliver yet another pivotal matchup between two of the consensus top-five featherweights in the world,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programing, Showtime Networks Inc.  “Santa Cruz-Mares 1 was a Fight of the Year-caliber fight with non-stop action from start to finish, and the rematch promises more of the same – with not just a world title at stake, but also Southern California bragging rights. This is the type of marquee bout that has become a hallmark of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, a true 50-50 showdown with high stakes implications.”
The popular Mexican-American Santa Cruz fights out of Los Angeles and most recently stopped Chris Avalos in October 2017 after a pair of high stakes showdowns against Irish star and two-division world champion Carl Frampton. While Santa Cruz lost a close majority decision in their first matchup, he bounced back in January 2017 to defeat Frampton by majority decision and regain his 126-pound title. Prior to that, Santa Cruz won belts at 118 and 122 pounds while earning a reputation as one of boxing’s most active and exciting fighters. The 29-year-old also holds victories over Cristian Mijares, Kiko Martinez and Eric Morel and has competed in world title bouts in 14 of his last 16 fights since 2012.
“The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better,” said Santa Cruz. “I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we’re also smart and I have a strong team that will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight once again for the boxing fans in Los Angeles.”
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif., Maresbecame a four-time world champion in December 2016 when he dropped Jesus Cuellar on his way to a unanimous decision and another featherweight world championship. Mares most recently scored a technical decision over Andres Gutierrez in October 2017. A Mexican Olympian in 2004, the 32-year-old won his first title in 2011 when he beat Joseph Agbeko to capture the bantamweight crown. He continued to rise in the pound-for-pound list with victories over Anselmo Moreno and DanielPonce De Leon to win world titles at super bantamweight and featherweight. The June 9 bout will be Mares’ third contest with World Champion trainer Robert Garcia, who helped Mares to a title-winning victory in their first fight together.
“It’s been over two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption,” said Mares. “Now that I’m with Robert Garcia and his team, you’ve seen the change. If they think I’m going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise.”