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Friday, August 23, 2013

Abner Mares vs. Jhonny Gonzalez: Preview and Prediction

On Aug. 24, Saturday night (10:30 p.m. ET/PT), featherweight champion Abner Mares will defend his title against former two-division champion, Jhonny Gonzalez in StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA, for another all-Mexican war in the squared circle. The fight will be aired on Showtime.

Undefeated Abner Mares, 26-0-1 (KO 14) is coming off from another impressive knockout victory against hard-hitting fellow Mexican Daniel Ponce De Leon. Mares in his fight with De Leon proved that he can box—not just roughhouse opponent. Although De Leon is not a technically sound fighter, Mares shown versatility, at least.

What I like about Mares is: he can beat every style of fighter you will put in front of him. He always finds a way to win. In finding ways to win, Mares has a tendency to use out-of-the-rule-book tactics—this is what I don’t like, especially when Mares use illegal blows. Anselmo Moreno, who is a pure boxer had the advantage to win (style wise) but lost a UD to Mares because of the rough-housing. Abner Mares was able to pull Moreno to fight his fight. And did not give the distance needed for a boxer like Moreno to be effective.

Now, I am intrigue as to what kind of fight-plan Mares will use against a guy who paid him to spar seven years ago? Will Mares tries to outbox or roughhouse Gonzalez?

Jhonny Gonzalez 54-8 (KO 46) hired Abner Mares as one of his chief sparring partners during his failed campaign at 122-pounds against Israel Vazquez in 2006.

Gonzalez, is coming off from a win against little known Japanese contender that he demolished in just four rounds. He is 2-1 in his last three fights. He lost the same title he once held, which he will try to recapture from Mares, from Daniel Ponce De Leon. So, if you will look at it; Gonzalez was defeated by a man who was knockout by Mares. But it doesn’t mean that it will be easy for Mares.

Gonzales has several advantages going into this fight. At 31, and having a total of 62 fights, Gonzalez is the experienced fighter. He is also has the height and reach advantage. At 5’7”, Gonzalez is three inches taller than Mares who stands at 5’4”. Gonzalez also had three inches reach advantage and is crucial for an outside fight, which I believe will be his game-plan against Mares—to fight from the outside. Gonzalez, capitalizing his height and reach advantages with his experience plus his vaunted power will be a difficult task for Mares to overcome.

My prediction
Gonzalez will try to move around and use his above advantages. He fights from outside using his jab to keep the shorter Mares at a striking distance but in a difficult position to counter. Gonzalez will try to score on points and will pick his power shots in hope for a knockout.

On the other end, I feel that Mares will choose to outbox Gonzalez in the early rounds, which is not a good idea fighting a taller opponent. I feel he is incline to use his boxing skills in the early rounds like what he did against De Leon rather than the style he used against Moreno. He was criticized badly on that.

However, he will realize that out boxing Gonzalez is not really a good idea. In the middle rounds, I think Mares will get nasty and will frustrate Gonzalez. I think this will be a sort of plan B  (to close in, to level Gonzalez’s advantages) Mares will use every rough-housing he employed against Moreno that might result in point deductions. A penalty for low-blow and hugging are inevitable. But down the stretch, Gonzalez, due to accumulation of body shots he took, will wear and tire and Mares will knock him out.

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