Mares recognises lowblow laden bout but will continue to target Agbeko’s body in rematch

18 Nov

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

The Showtime-organised four-man bantamweight tournament may have concluded in August, but it’s after-effects will be felt all the way up until December 3 when Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko engage in a rematch set for the Honda Center in Anaheim. Mares attracted criticism for his approach in the first fight due to his repeated lowblowing of Agbeko, however, he stated he will again target the Ghanaian’s body in California unless told to punch higher by the referee.

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Mares with his bantamweight belts. Credit: Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos/ Golden Boy Promotions

“I still have to prove that I’m a complete fighter,” said Mares, an undefeated 25-year-old, the winner of the Showtime: Winner Takes All tournament and the current incumbent of the IBF bantamweight world championship (pictured above, red belt) and the WBC silver strap.

Mares rose to the zenith of the 118lb weight class due to his three most recent outings: a majority draw with Yonnhy Perez, a split decision triumph over game Armenian; Vic Darchinyan in the semifinal of Winner Takes All and, most recently, a majority decision verdict at the expense of Agbeko.That win was not without controversy as On The Beak‘s post-fight report headline read: Mares scoops IBF crown by fighting dirty against Agbeko; a nod to the countless shots below the belt-line that Agbeko was forced to endure with little aid given by the referee.

Showing respect to Agbeko, Mares (22-0-1, 13ko) said that he has altered his game-plan slightly in order to accommodate the “way he pulls down”. He said: “I can’t wait to get into the ring and beat Agbeko in a different way. I know it’s going to be a great fight and he’s a great ex-champion. I think Agbeko is a more complete fighter than the last two fighters I fought [Perez and Darchinyan]. The way he kind of pulls down and the way he hides his head is pretty good.

“Fans know what I’m going to bring and they want to come to see what I’m going to do next. I’m a fighter that always likes to go to the body. I’m a perfectionist and I’m definitely going to go to the body,” stressed Abner. “I’m going to throw a lot of body punches. If I see that the ref is saying my punches are too low then I’m going to stop doing it.”

Reflecting on his August match-up with Agbeko, he added that if referee Russell Mora had followed up on his initial warning by deducting a point from his own tally, then he would have paid less attention to his opponent’s midsection: “What I tell everyone is that if I would have been penalised or had a point taken away in the early rounds I would have definitely stopped going to the body.

“I thought most of my punches were right at the belt line. It was not my intention to hit him low like that and I didn’t mean to hit him there. I fought my best and he fought his best and the fans were excited about the fight. I do see where all the controversy comes from,” Mares conceded. “There were some low punches but I tried to correct them. There were times when he pulled my head down and the ref told him not to.

“I thought at one point I was going to get penalised but I just went to a neutral corner and saw the ref started counting – it’s not my fault. I can’t tell the ref to stop counting, so you can’t blame me for that. That’s why I have no problem fighting him again and I can’t wait to fight and beat him again.

“All eyes are going to be on me and waiting for me to make the mistakes, but I’m determined to go to the body like I always do. We’re ready. We have plan A and plan B and plan C.

“I can’t wait till December 3 so I can show everyone what Abner Mares is made of.”

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