By Ian S Palmer
Abner Mares vs Jesus Cuellar Preview December 10th
There’s some fine featherweight action at the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, California this Saturday, December 10th as former three-division world champion Abner Mares of Mexico will be challenging WBA World Champion Jesus Cuellar of Argentina. The bout can be seen live in the U.S. on Showtime. Mares last fought in August of 2015 when he lost the WBA title to Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision. Cuellar’s last bout was a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo last December. Both men have been out of the ring for at least a year (16 months in Mares’ case). They were supposed to meet in June, but the bout was postponed due to Mares’ failing his vision test.
The 29-year-old Cuellar, a southpaw, enters the contest with an impressive record of 28-1 along with 21 Kos. He stands 5-fee-6-inches tall and has a 68-inch reach. He’s also a quite a heavy hitter with a current knockout ratio of 72 per cent. Cuellar has 154 rounds of experience to his name since turning pro back in 2008. The champion has won 11 fights in a row with his only loss coming at the hands of Oscar Escandon by way of seventh-round stoppage in 2011. Cuellar has dynamite in both of his fists and has seven stoppages in his last 10. He was knocked out in his only loss, but still has a pretty decent chin.
Cuellar won the interim championship in August of 2013 when he beat Claudio Marrero by unanimous decision. He then beat Rico Ramos, Juan Manuel Lopez and Ruben Tamayo before becoming the full-fledged champion when he stopped Vic Darchinyan in eight rounds in June of 2015. He’ll be facing the 31-year-old Mares, who now fights out of Montebello, California this Saturday. Mares has a record of 29-2-1 with 15 Kos. He stands just over 5-feet-4-inches tall with a 66-inch reach. Therefore he’ll be giving up a couple of inches in both height and reach.
Mares has 240 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2005. He’s also faced some tough opposition such as Darchinyan, Santa Cruz, Oquendo, Eric Morel, Anselmo Moreno, Jose Ramirez, Jhonny Gonzalez, Yonnhy Perez, Joseph Agbeko and Daniel Ponce De Leon. Other than losing to Santa Cruz, the only man to beat him was Gonzalez when he stopped Mares in the first round of their 2013 bout. Mares’ 12-round majority draw came against Perez in 2010. Mares fought for his homeland of Mexico in the 2004 Olympics and won the IBF Bantamweight crown in December of 2010 when he beat Joseph Agbeko by a majority decision.
He then beat Agbeko soon after in a rematch and captured the vacant WBC 122 lb belt by beating Eric Morel in 2012. He won his third world title as a featherweight when he stopped veteran Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico in the ninth round in 2013. However, Gonzalez took him out in his first title defence. Mares is an exciting boxer with good all-round boxing skills, but lacks a little when it comes to power. His current knockout ratio stands at 47 percent. However, he isn’t afraid to brawl with the best of them when he has to. He may try to turn the tables on Cuellar here by being the aggressor and pushing the pace. He’ll need to jab his way on the inside though and keep the pressure on his opponent.
Mares’ experience against tough foes could be a key factor in this bout especially considering he’s three for three against top southpaws. He can box as well as brawl and even though he has the size disadvantage could be a lot for the champion to handle. As long as Mares can take Cuellar’s power shots he may be able to do enough to come out of this fight with a relatively close decision.