Abner Mares no longer focused on Leo Santa Cruz rematch – eyeing Carl Frampton fight

Former WBC featherweight world champion Abner Mares [30(15)-2(1)-1] fights for the first time in 2017 next weekend, and the Mexican-American has suggested that his plans are not as set in stone as would be believed.

Mares had been due to rematch WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz this month, but the fight was taken off the table due to Santa Cruz’s team wanting a warm-up.

Santa Cruz now defends his belt against former Carl Frampton opponent Chris Avalos on Saturday October 14th at the StubHub Centre in California while Mares boxes Andres Gutierrez, who suffered a freak injury and had to withdraw from a fight with Frampton during the Summer, on the undercard.

The commonly-held rationale was that, should both win on the card, Santa Cruz and Mares will fight in a rematch of their 2015 war in the new year.

However, the opponent swaps seem to have dissatisfied Mares, and the three-weight champ claims he is open to fighting other big names after Gutierrez.

These other big names include former WBA champ Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] – who Mares has been interested in boxing ever since the Belfast man defeated Kiko Martinez for the IBF super bantamweight title back in 2014.

Speaking at a press conference for the Premier Boxing Champions card, Mares stated that “I’m not even worried about fighting Leo any more, I want to fight Frampton, I want to fight Oscar Valdez, I want to fight world champions.”

“I’m not going to focus on one fighter anymore.”

“I’m not frustrated whatsoever. I’m over it, I’m concentrating on one fight and that’s it. We can talk about a Leo fight after this, God willing, but my priority right now and my goal is to beat Gutierrez in a spectacular way.”

“I’m not even worried about the Leo fight.”

Frampton himself returns on Saturday November 18th against Horacio Garcia at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

This ten-rounder will be The Jackal’s first fight since losing his WBA belt to Santa Cruz in a Las Vegas rematch back in January. It will also be his first fight since splitting with the McGuigan family and linking up with promoter Frank Warren and trainer Jamie Moore.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie