Four-time world champion Abner Mares was supposed to face Leo Santa Cruz in a highly-anticipated rematch for the world featherweight titles on Oct. 7 on Showtime at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but there was a change of plans.
Mares gave it his all, but was outclassed in August 2015 by Santa Cruz, who won a majority decision.
Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KO’s), 29, who holds a top tier belt, wasn’t ready to commit to a rematch against Mares (30-2-1, 15 KO’s), 31, who holds a secondary title, after two challenging bouts against Carl Frampton. Instead they agreed to appear in separate title defenses for the WBA “Super” and WBA “Regular” featherweight world titles, respectively, on a Premier Boxing Champions card at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Santa Cruz will defend his 126-pound strap in the main event against Chris Avalos, and Mares will face Andres Gutierrez in the co-feature.
Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KO’s), 24, of Mexico, is not a household name, but he is a tough competitor. He came up short in a bid to win WBC Silver featherweight title last year in a close majority decision loss to Cristian Mijares. Gutierrez was also supposed to face Frampton on Jul. 29, but the entire card was cancelled after he slipped in the shower, broke his nose, lost two teeth, and suffered lacerations to his chin.
Since a shocking first-round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez in 2013 while defending his WBC featherweight world title, Mares is 4-1 with one knockout, and has recently struggled with inactivity. He was last seen in the ring against last December where he defended his title with a split decision victory over Jesus Andres Cuellar.
Now that we have broken things down, let’s take Mares-Gutierrez round-by-round.
Round 1: Gutierrez is a notoriously slow starter, so expect Mares to set the pace with quick jabs to the head, and right hands to the body. Gutierrez will push the pace towards the end of the round, and target the body with his left hook.
Winner: Mares 10-9
Round 2: Mares outboxes him behind quick one-two combinations and left hooks to the head. Gutierrez, again, gets right in Mares’s chest as the round nears completion, and lands a series of hooks to the ribs.
Winner: Mares 20-18
Round 3: Gutierrez comes forward more aggressively in this round. While he does have success in a few exchanges with Mares, his opponent will also score with clean rights to the head. Judges may give this round to Gutierrez for effective aggression.
Winner: Gutierrez 29-28
Round 4: Gutierrez gets his head on the chest of Mares as he tries to outmuscle him on the inside, and scores with a left hook to the body, and to the head. Intense round and it also brings the possibility for head clashes and low blows.
Winner: Gutierrez 38-38
Round 5: Both men go at it in this round. Gutierrez is getting the better of it on the inside and Mares is out-jabbing. Close round. Mares might have the edge.
Wunner: Mares 48-47
Round 6: Mares is going back to fighting smart like at the beginning of the bout, working behind his jab, and landing quick combinations before darting away from Gutierrez’s counters.
Winner: Mares 58-56
Round 7: Mares gives Gutierrez another boxing lesson in Round 7 and now the corner of Gutierrez is going to start screaming at their fighter to pick up the aggression.
Winner: Mares 68-65
Round 8: Gutierrez follows commands and gets his head on the chest of Mares and unloads a brutal combination. Mares responds back with right and a left, but Gutierrez keeps on coming. Mares darts out of danger back to ring center. We ourselves a fight.
Winner: Gutierrez 77-75
Round 9: Gutierrez has to take a breather, and Mares continues to pop him with the jab, and short hooks inside the defense of his adversary. It’s a clear round for the champion.
Winner: Mares 87-84
Round 10: Gutierrez gets on the inside and jars Mares with a head-butt. It’s going to get dirty. The referee may or may not see it, but regardless, this is going to be a good round for Gutierrez. He catches Mares with another brutal combination, and grabs his head, pulling it down. We might see a point deduction.
Winner: Gutierrez 96-94
Round 11: Mares still scoring with the jab and the lead right hand. Gutierrez still dangerous on the inside and gets Mares’s attention with an uppercut.
Winner: Gutierrez 105-104
Round 12: Mares lets his hands go and scores with a left hook and a clean right hand. He is also targeting the midsection with punishing hooks. Gutierrez can’t find the range with his punches, and Mares seals the deal.
Winner: Abner Mares by split decision 115-113