Fight Pick & Preview: Mares vs. Gonzalez –
In the main event at the newly-named StubHub Center in Carson on August 24, Abner Mares defends his WBC Featherweight Title against a man who used to hold this belt–Mexican veteran and multiple champion Jhonny Gonzalez. In his last fight, Mares beat the man who took the belt from Gonzalez–Daniel “Ponce” De Leon. It was a great performance where Mares stopped the reigning champion in the 9th round.
Mares is really something else and it’s safe to say that he’s an overlooked gem. For the past 3 years, he has been on a tear. He braved the storm of the Showtime bantamweight tournament, winning it with victories over Vic Darchinyan and Joseph Agbeko (twice). He beat Eric Morel, shut down streaking bantamweight titleholder Anselmo Moreno, and then came the win over De Leon. He is beating really good fighters and has done it from 118 to 126.
- Date: August 24, 2013
- Site: StubHub Center, Carson, California
- Division: WBC Featherweight Title: 12 Rounds
Abner Mares, 26-0-1 (14 KOs), Montebello, CA. WBC Featherweight Champion
Jhonny Gonzalez, 54-8 (46 KOs), Mexico City, Mexico
In terms of quality of opposition, Mares has been consistently beating really good fighters. In his biggest wins, against Moreno and De Leon, he was utterly dominant. Despite the tough roster of opponents, Mares seems to have found another gear. He just may be peaking at 27 and if that’s the case, it’s difficult to fancy the chances of the 31-year old Gonzalez.
Nothing against Gonzalez, but him being 31 is a bit misleading. He has been a pro since 1999, with his championship pedigree stretching back over 8 years. His record speaks for itself–the man can bang. He holds wins over Mark Johnson and Fernando Montiel, when Montiel was really going well. At this point in time, however, it seems that Gonzalez has lost a little bit of mojo.
Power is the last thing to leave a fighter’s arsenal. It’s how well he can take a shot that now seems to be an issue. When he failed to get rid of Ponce in their title bout, he unraveled pretty quickly in the face of the De Leon resistance. Also troubling in that he was dropped in a comeback bout in February against 21-12-2 Eusebio Osejo. Now he’s facing what appears to be a peaking young champion who might hit harder as he has risen in weight. And all that scar tissue he has accrued over the years isn’t doing him any favors, either.
Inconsistency has been a staple of the career of Gonzalez. He has gone from looking like a killer in one fight to a vulnerable one in another fight. You never know quite what you’re going to get with him. He is in a career crisis and has been given a chance to make it all better should he somehow win. One shouldn’t be expecting Gonzalez to phone it in here.
At the same time, with his power, one should also expect some urgency on the part of Mares, who won’t be playing around or overlooking Gonzalez. He’s not going to take it easy on Gonzalez if he has a chance to close escrow. He may employ a cautious approach at times, but that might mean smothering Gonzalez with aggression, as Jhonny needs some space to uncork his Howlitzer right hand.
Mares vs. Gonzalez Prediction
Mares has too many dimensions for Gonzalez. It just so happens that Gonzalez’ one dimension is the trump card–his bone-rattling power. At this level, however, it usually comes down to more than that. In those other areas, Gonzalez might not have the resources and wherewithal to brave through a long hard fight at this stage in his career.
Look for Mares to get through a rocky moment or two before his punches start to bust up the fragile face of Gonzalez. I see a TKO, maybe on cuts, around the 7th round.
Prediction: Abner Mares wins by 7th-round TKO.