Featherweight contenders Abner Mares and Fernando Montiel will be squaring off on the undercard of the highly anticipated welterweight showdown between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter on March 12th. If the headliner wasn’t enough to persuade fans to tune in, then having this matchup to open the night should.
Though both fighters are coming off losses, it does nothing to diminish the potential fireworks that this bout could generate. Mares just came off a close back-and-forth war against current WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz, and showed plenty of grit and tenacity despite the losing effort. Mares was also the winner of the Showtime Bantamweight tournament back in 2011, and went on to win titles at 122, and 126 pounds shortly after. For his upcoming bout against Montiel, he will be going under the guidance of trainer Robert Garcia, who worked with famed fighters like Marcos Maidana, Brandon Rios and the former Mexican-American superstar Fernando Vargas. New partnerships in fighter and trainer are always somewhat unpredictable, but this combination should be a good one.
"I'm ready to get back in the ring and have the boxing world see the monster that the Mares and Robert Garcia partnership is creating," said Mares. "I'm a tough fighter. I've made some adjustments and I will show my warrior spirit and skill on March 12. It's time to go to work."
Then there’s Fernando Montiel. There are many things we could say to legitimize Montiel’s presence in boxing. He too has won championships in three different weight divisions. He’s also fought wars with Jhonny Gonzales and Z Gorres, and has a career resume chalked full of legitimate competition. But the thing I will remember him for most is getting off the floor from his knockdown against Nonito Donaire. Anyone who could take that kind of punch, then somehow get up to beat the count, is someone worth watching.
"I have been wanting to fight Abner Mares for many years," said Montiel. "They say that styles make fights and Abner Mares' style is tailor made for me. My last fight was a close decision against one of the best featherweights in the world in Lee Selby. I need to make every fight count and on March 12th, Abner Mares will be my next step to another world title!"
The losses against Santa Cruz and Shelby can and should be viewed in a different light. Both fighters lost in valiant efforts. Both have proven their capabilities over the course of their careers, and now they both have something to prove against the other. That sort of combination likely spells out for barnburner of a fight, and is a welcomed addition to an already entertaining night of boxing on March 12th.
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