FOUR months after their original fight’s cancellation, Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) and Jesus Cuellar (28-1-0, 21 KOs) finally get a new date. The much-anticipated featherweight clash will be held in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center on December 10, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cuellar’s WBA World featherweight title will be on the line.
Their first meeting was supposed to take place on July 25th in New York City, but the State Athletic Commission denied Mares the medical clearance required to compete within their jurisdiction.
Initial reports regarding the cancellation were cryptic but it was later revealed that an old Mares eye injury was the basis for the refusal.
“For certain reasons, the New York State Athletic Commission wouldn’t grant me the license to fight in their state,” said Mares to Boxing News. “They went based on my history. This thing about my eye is nothing that we’ve been hiding. In 2008, I had a detached retina while fighting. That was known and that was said and that was cured with one surgery.”
The cancellation came as a surprise to Mares, who has competed fifteen times, across four American states since that surgery. His wars against Joseph Agbeko, Vic Darchinyan, Anselmo Moreno, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz all took place post-injury.
Although the game of boxing is replete with stories of fighters competing against their own best interests, Mares insists that he is taking the appropriate measures to ensure that his story doesn’t end up in the same book. And he assures that he will be ready for his opponent despite the fact that he has been inactive since his majority decision loss to Leo Santa Cruz in August of last year.
“I’m excited because I’m facing a top-level fighter, a hard-punching fighter,” continued Mares. “I’m ready to feel his power, his willingness to come and fight, and show you guys what I’ve been learning with Robert Garcia as a new coach. So, with that being said, I just feel great. Fighting a top level fighter always brings the best out of me.”
His opponent, hard-hitting Argentine Jesus Cuellar, acquired the interim WBA belt three years ago in his first fight in North America. He successfully defended the title three times, including a devastating knockout victory over Juan Manuel Lopez in 2014, and earned the World Title outright nine months later by knocking out former Mares rival, Darchinyan.
The fight will be the first by former Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer’s new venture, Ringstar Sports.
“To do my first event from Galen Center is very meaningful because while I’ve been out, I’ve sent my two boys to USC, and these are the kinds of events I like to put together – two 50/50 fights in which the best fight the best,” Schaefer told The Times.
Also on the card, IBF World Super Welterweight champion Jermall Charlo puts his title on the line against the unbeaten Julian “J-Rock” Williams.