Abner Mares: ďItís only right that the winner of Agbeko and myself is called the best bantamweight out thereĒ
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 136th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with undefeated bantamweight contender Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) who is scheduled to face IBF Champion King Kong Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) in the Bantamweight Tournament Final on August 13. Mares spoke about his upcoming mega fight against Agbeko, and also shared his views on other aspects of the current bantamweight landscape. Here is a complete transcript of that interview:
JENNA J: Weíre joined by undefeated bantamweight contender, Abner Mares. Howís everything going, Abner?
ABNER MARES: Iím doing great. Thank you. Iím doing really good. Itís hot out in L.A. right now.
JENNA: Alright well you are less than two weeks away from your big matchup with Joseph Agbeko. What are you expecting?
MARES: Iím expecting a great fight. I canít wait Iím really excited for this. Weíre talking about a world title, winning my first world title fight and Iím really excited. To top it off itís in Vegas, so Iím really looking forward to it.
JENNA: Well the fight was originally supposed to happen back in April and it was very close to that fight when it got called off. Do you have any fears that something like that could happen again?
MARES: You know what? Yes. I was talking about that with my friend Monica. She was like oh itís so exciting! Weíre getting close to the fight! I just told her I donít want to get too happy because last fight at around this same time is when things got really bad. I mean I try not to think about it. I know everything is going work out smoothly. God willing letís just hope it does for the sake of myself and the fans.
JENNA: I talked to Joseph Agbeko before and he said he doesnít feel that there is going to be any adverse effects from the back injury. Do you think that will be the case, that he will be as good as he was before?
MARES: I hope he is and I hope he does. I donít know. I have no experience with what he had. I know some people that had it and they told me that it comes and goes. So I really donít know. Iím not going to think about it because I just want to think that heís ready 100% as a normal athlete and fighter. I expect a tough fight and I just donít think about his problems.
JENNA: Okay well there is a lot of debate among boxing fans deciding whether or not this fight here should really be for the bantamweight title, the Ring Magazine title, and a legitimate claim to the bantamweight championship. Do you think the winner of this tournament deserves that recognition or do you think the winner would actually have to fight Nonito Donaire who has two belts?
MARES: It would be great. It would be good to fight, either of us. God willing myself, I come out victorious or him, however it works out. Itís only right to fight Nonito or any other top bantamweight out there because weíre blessed to have a jam-packed division with great fighters. Like you named Nonito, heís one of the pound-for-pound best. So who wouldnít like to fight him because he carries that torch, that belt as a pound-for-pound. Meaning if you beat this guy youíre the best in that weight class, but we entered this tournament. This tournament is called the best bantamweight out there. I mean all of these guys were invited. They couldnít join for I have no idea what reasons. I donít blame them. Itís only right that the winner of Agbeko and myself is called the best bantamweight out there. If not, letís make a fight with whoeverís the best out there. This is just for the fans. I mean the fights are for the fans, so whoever it is either Joseph or myself is ready for it.
JENNA: Okay! Well Abner weíre also on the line with my Co-Host Geoff Ciani.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi Abner. Itís a pleasure to have you on the show.
MARES: How are you doing? Thanks, itís great to be on.
CIANI: Thank you. Iím just curious, when you first were approached about entering this tournament before it started, what were your initial thoughts when you heard about it?
MARES: Well right off the bat I was like wow, Iím the youngest and least experienced fighter, because some of the names of the fighters that were mentioned were Montiel, Donaire, Anselmo Moreno, Agbeko, and Darchinyan and myself. So thatís six, and from those five I was the least experienced and the youngest one. So right off the bat I was like whoa, these are elite fighters who I dreamed about fighting all my life. So it was exciting and I said yes right there and then.
CIANI: Now in the first round fight in your matchup with Vic Darchinyan, you were dropped early in the fight and you were also deducted a point and things seemed to be going against you. How were you able to pull it together and rally to come back and win that fight?
MARES: Just mentally with the desire, I had to win that fight and not lose. The first thing that happened that I remembered was the head-butt. I got cut. That blood was going into my eyes. Going back to my corner I was thinking okay this is nothing. Itís just blood! If anything it made me want to go out there and exchange a little bit more. So right after that was when I got knocked down. (laughs) I got up and thank God I wasnít hurt. It was just a flash knockdown. I got up and the first thing that came to my mind was when Juan Manuel Marquez fought Manny Pacquiao and he got knocked down three times and he still got a draw. So I said to myself I got knocked down. This is the second or third round. Itís only the beginning. This is not the end. Letís keep going! You can do this Abner! So I was just basically talking to myself inside of me and got me to keep going. This is not over, and luckily that worked and with the great corner I had, thank God. He gave me the strength to pull it off.
CIANI: Now when you look at King Kong Agbeko, you two obviously have two recent common opponents in Darchinyan and Yohnny Perez. What do you take out of the fights that youíve had with those guys and the fights that King Kong Agbeko has had with them?
MARES: You know what, we canít really compare them. Well I donít, because weíre two different styles. Agbeko fought Darchinyan a different way, well in a kind of similar way because he did push him back a lot and he pressed and gave him a lot of pressure. But with Yohnny the first and second fight were different. He brawled against him in the first fight and in the second fight he just boxed him beautifully. So I try not to compare myself because there are in similarities between Agbeko and myself. We know how to fight both of these fighters, but now going in the ring with Agbeko itís a matter of who figures who out first. You got to be smart in there because Agbekoís a smart fighter.
CIANI: Changing things up a tiny bit here Abner, you mentioned Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Those guys are actually having a third fight later this year, and I was curious what you thought of that fight and whether you think Marquez actually has a chance this time around?
MARES: You know Iím going to be honest, being that me and Marquez, I train with him and weíre great friends and Iím leaning towards him. I do believe he has a chance. Do I think Pacquiaoís going to win? Yes, because he has the most experience and heís faced bigger guys. I just think Pacquiaoís at a different level right now. Marquez, you can never bet against him because itís hard. This guy is such a smart fighter that you canít count him out, so I definitely give Marquez a chance. I think he somehow, some way has figured Pacquiao not totally, but he figured him out a little bit. He knows how to fight him, but letís just hope he knows how to fight him to the extent of beating him.
JENNA: Alright Abner, well I just have a few more things that Iíd like to ask you before I let you off the line. This is not your first shot at a title belt. Back in May 2010 you had a chance against Yohnny Perez in a fight many contend that you should have got the call in. Do you think the fact that you didnít get the decision in that fight has made you just a little hungrier and that you will be a little more ready to assume the mantle of a champion?
MARES: You know what, yes. I feel ready mentally and basically everything in every sense. When I fought Yohnny it was my first title attempt. I was facing an elite fighter in his prime in his first title defense. So it was really good. A lot of people thought I could have easily gotten the win, which I didnít. I got a draw but I learned from it. I learned from it and it made me a better fighter. The next fight after that was Darchinyan. I won that fight God willing. It made me a better fighter, so with these two fighters mentioned you could easily have said that I already became a world champion. With Yohnny I got a draw, which a lot of people thought I won. With Darchinyan I beat him and I donít remember what belt he had, but it was a title we didnít want to fight for. It was the IBO. He had the IBO, and he was currently world champion at super flyweight I think. So I just took these fights and I learned from all of them. Weíre going against another tougher fighter. He has the full package Agbeko. It only excited me because Iím getting to fight all these great fighters and itís being televised. Iím getting exposure. So Iím happy. I just want to go in there and do my job and please the crowd, which are all the guys that paid for the tickets and wanted to see a great show. So thatís what I trained for and thatís what Iím ready for.
JENNA: Now do you think the winner of the bantamweight tournament, if he canít get a fight with Nonito Donaire, should actually look towards Vic Darchinyan because he looked so impressive in his last fight against Yohnny Perez?
MARES: I mean like I said, there is not only Nonito. Nonito, yeah, because heís pound-for-pound and he has a great win over Montiel. But there are other fighters. Like you mentioned there is possible a rematch against Darchinyan, thereís Anselmo Moreno, there is Montiel. So I mean Iím blessed that we have a great weight division right now because there are all of these great fighters and we can do all these great fights for the fans. I just got this fight in front of me that I have to take care of first before I can even be mentioning or thinking about these fights yet.
JENNA: Alright well you mentioned the fight thatís in front of you. Letís talk keys to victory. What do you think you need to do to beat King Kong Agbeko?
MARES: Just go in there and explore my plan, which obviously Iím not going to say. (laughs) Weíre ready! Weíll figure him out and just go in there and do my thing, and God willing come out victorious.
JENNA: Well I have one final question. Is there anything you want to say to all the fans who are going to come out to the Hard Rock Hotel and see you do your thing?
MARES: Yes, I just want to thank you guys for the great support that you have shown me and given me throughout my whole career and my short career. Thank you guys. I appreciate it. I fight for you guys. Iím ready for this! Thanks to the media for covering even us in the smaller weight classes and giving us the exposure. I appreciate that and thank you all. Viva la Mexico!
JENNA: Thank you Abner for your time. This is going to be a heck of a fight and I myself as a boxing fan canít wait to see it!
MARES: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
CIANI: Thank you Abner. Best of luck!
MARES: Thank you so much! You have a great day!
For those interested in listening to the Abner Mares interview in its entirety, it begins approximately fifty-seven minutes into the program.
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Article posted on 05.08.2011
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