From Online to Middle of the Ring!

What started behind a telephone screen typing away trash talk on social media, has now escalated to an intriguing fight the majority of boxing fans are looking forward to early 2019. From Instagram call-outs to facing off for the first time at L.A Live’s Conga Room, three-division world champion Abner Mares moving up in weight to challenge current super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis for his World Boxing Association Super Featherweight title has stirred up debates amongst the boxing community. Whether or not Mares has what it takes to take on the upcoming Mayweather Promotions boxing star or if he will use his experience to pull off an upset, it will all be settled on Feb. 9 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Ca. and televised on Showtime Boxing.

Eder Mercado

With social media facilitating initiation and build-up to mega fights, boxers are also more prone to receive pressure from fight fans to take on particular challenges.

“All this back-and-forth on social media with Gervonta and myself, you know, it did start on social media,” said Mares. “One day I thought to myself, I said, you know what, this is a good fight. This is a challenge for me. I can beat this guy.”

Coming off a loss against three-division world champion Leo “El Famoso Terremoto” Santa Cruz this past June, most people in the boxing community expected Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) to take on an easy opponent to cushion his record, including his advisor, Al Haymon.

“I made the phone call [to Al Haymon]. I said ‘Hey Al, can I get the fight against Gervonta Davis?’ He says ‘wait a minute, who?’ I’m like ‘Gervonta Davis.’ [He said] ‘At super featherweight?!’ I’m like ‘Yes.’

Fighting out of Baltimore, Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) was inactive for the majority of 2018 only stepping in the ring in April against Argentinian southpaw Jesús Marcelo Andrés “El Forastero” Cuellar, who he defeated by third-round stoppage.

A mutual opponent between Davis and Mares, Cuellar often serves as a comparison of the power and styles from both boxers. Though Mares went the full 12 rounds and scored a split decision victory against Cuellar, he insists it doesn’t mean Davis is a superior fighter.

“Some people, some stupid people were like, ‘Oh, he knocked him out in two rounds, Abner went the distance.'” said Mares. “Yeah, this guy fought him two years after I beat him.”

Though some fans believe Mares will use his ring experience to outbox the Baltimore southpaw, his come-forward Mexican style makes others believe he’s tailor-made to get knocked out by Davis. However, others assume it is ring rust which will play a factor against Davis.

No stranger to having his fighters as underdogs, trainer Robert Garcia told everyone in the media Mares wanted a challenge and was training to pull off an upset, claiming, “February ninth, you are all in for a surprise.”

Often described as “war grounds,” the former StubHub Center has a reputation for being the mecca of amazing wars and because of it’s intimate layout, there is no bad seat in the house. Tickets are now available for sale here.

Keep in mind this is an outside venue, so don’t forget to dress accordingly for the cold weather this time of the year. Happy tailgating.

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A journalism major at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Lily hopes to reach her dream job as a boxing commentator. She grew up in Mexico watching boxing with her father, and looking up to exciting Mexican legends like Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Travieso Arce, El Maromero, and of course, JCC senior and Oscar De La Hoya. Her love of boxing intensified when her family migrated to the US in 2001 and world boxing became more accessible. Apart from her love of boxing, she loves to be involved in many feminist activism and plans to use her journalism career to raise awareness on environmental issues as well as social injustices against people of color and minorities.

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