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Boxnation Preview of Mares vs Morel

Frank Warren Promotions

 

ABNER MARES-ERIC MOREL/ANSELMO MORENO-DAVID DE LA MORA PREVIEWS
By Glyn Evans

 

British fight buffs get an opportunity to assess two Latino stars on the periphery of the sport’s pound for pound listings when BoxNation (Sky Ch.456/Virgin Ch. 546) televise the big ‘Battle of the Border’ world title double header from the Don Haskins Centre, El Paso, Texas on Saturday evening (early Sunday morning GMT).

Mexico’s Abner Mares and Panama’s Anselmo Moreno are men small in stature but immense in ability.

The former, now 26, is Golden Boy Promotion’s first homegrown champion. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico but raised in the gang infested Hawaiian Gardens district of Los Angeles, Mares was a habitual shoplifter and joyrider during a troubled adolescence. He claims he was sexually active at just 12, plus excluded from several schools. Boxing, not for the first time, provided salvation.

He began aged seven and racked up an elite 112-8 amateur card. World Cadets champion in 2002 and world junior silver medallist in 2004, the 5ft 4 1/2 in from Montebello, California boxed at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the singlet of his native Mexico (he was outpointed controversially by a Hungarian in the early rounds).

Debuting as a pro in January 2005, Mares cruised to 20 straight wins with his stiffest opponent proving to be a detached retina in late 2008.

But he has emerged as an outstanding talent since landing in world class in May 2010. In his last four starts, the Frank Espinoza managed star has drawn with then unbeaten IBF champ (and former flatmate!) Yonnhy Perez and, en route to triumphing in Showtime TV’s elite bantam tourney last year, he masterfully outpointed (ex IBF fly and WBA/WBC superfly king) Vic Darchinyan and Ghana’s IBF king Joseph Agbeko (twice). Top tier opponents, one and all!

With his choir boy looks and effervescent personality, not to mention Golden Boy’s potless marketing budget, the still unbeaten Mares (23-0-1) is one of the emerging stars of world boxing. Save for a kayo dig, he appears the complete package; a strong, nimble, speedy pressure fighter with well groomed technical tools, silky combinations and an incessant body attack.

 

On Saturday, he rises in weight to challenge for the vacant WBC superbantam crown against Puerto Rican veteran Eric Morel and he can certainly expect a stiff test.

Though well into his 37th year, the Wisconsin based ‘Little Hands of Steel’, is himself a fighter of considerable pedigree; bettered  just twice in a 48 fight paid career that dates back to October 1996.

Born in San Juan, Morel embarked upon boxing at the age of eight and, like Mares, he is a world junior silver medallist (1992, in the vest of his native island) and an ex Olympian (Atlanta 1996, representing the USA).

Within four years of joining the profession, he was crowned world flyweight champion (WBA) after skilfully out foxing Thailand’s previously undefeated Sornpichai Kratingdaenggym, in his hometown of Madison. In the succeeding three years, he successfully defended on five occasions and established himself as one of the sport’s best operators if not its most marketable (courtesy of a cautious southpaw style).  In December 2003, he surrendered his belt as much to the scales as to his conqueror, Venezuela’s Lorenzo Parra (lpts 12, Bayamon, Puerto Rico).

Rising immediately to superfly, Morel bagged the NABO crown but was widely outscored by Mexico’s very able Martin Castillo for the WBA strap in March 2005. It proved the most comprehensive defeat of his 16 year career but his mind might have been elsewhere.

Upon his release, he resumed his career in February 2008, aged 32, and has cobbled together 11 consecutive wins, most notably a February 2010 12 round victory over Filipino Gerry Penalosa for the WBO interim bantam crown. However, Mares represents his most taxing assignment for some considerable time.

At 5ft 6 ½ in tall, he will enjoy noticeable edges in height and reach, is vastly more experienced and his cagey, savvy southpaw skills establish him as an awkward proposition for anyone in the division. However, they shall now be carried on 36 year old legs. Whilst he shall probably be competitive up until half way, Mares greater natural strength and freshness should show after the turn and the logical pick is for Mares to emerge as a two weight champion after a dozen high quality rounds.

Co-headlining shall be Anselmo Moreno, Mares only real rival down at 118lbs and tenant of the WBA ‘Super’ belt.

A painter by trade and one of 16 children, the 26 year old Panamanian southpaw is an unsung but outstanding champion who collected the belt in May 2008 by schooling the Ukraine’s Wladimir Sidorenko over 12 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Known as ‘Chemito’, he has subsequently retained on nine occasions, securing wins in Germany, France (twice) Venezuela and the US; a world champion in the very purest sense.

 

In addition to Sidorenko whom he also mastered in a rematch, his stellar scalp list includes two split decisions over highly regarded Venezuelan Nehomar Cermeno, plus ex world champions Mahyar Monshipour (pts 12), Lorenzo Parra (rsc8) and, in his most recent gig, Vic Darchinyan.

 

The latter was broadcast in the UK on Premier Sports but, for those yet to see him, expect a smart, evasive counterpuncher, who fights from a crouch and pokes out an incessant southpaw jab. He is blessed with balletic footwork and knows every square inch of the ring canvas. Though his 32-1-1 slate lists just 14 stoppages, he is yet to be floored, and has the tools, tactics and temperament to win rounds. Definitely one for the purists.

 

Moreno’s propensity for stepping in with the very best available competition continues tomorrow evening when he squares off with hammer-handed Mexican David De La Mora.

 

The 23 year old challenger from Tijuana has stopped 17 in compiling a 24-1 card since turning pro (after 80 amateur bouts) as a 17 year old superflyweight in November 2006.

 

The defeat came, narrowly on points, after he rose from the canvas to push Japan’s Koki Kameda to the wire in a WBA title challenge last August. No discredit there.

 

Styles should mesh perfectly; the wily, seasoned counterpuncher against the fresh and feisty slugger. Moreno’s greater experience should ultimately prevail….just. But it’s no foregone conclusion and definitely one that hardcore fans won’t want to miss.

 

Live coverage on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) will start at 2am on Sunday 22nd April.  Join at www.boxnation.com

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