Abner Mares is 36 years old and he hasn’t fought in more than four years.
The three-division champion is thus realistic about his comeback. He intends to take “one fight at a time” and hasn’t spoken about boxing any of the champions in the 130-pound division.
If Mares beat Miguel Flores on the Andy Ruiz Jr.-Luis Ortiz undercard September 4 in Los Angeles, Mares might decide that winning his last fight and leaving this brutal business on his own terms is enough to head into retirement permanently this time.
The Showtime analyst cannot help but think, however, what would’ve happened had he not suffered a second detached retina during a sparring session in January 2019. Mares is confident that he would’ve beaten Gervonta Davis in a main event Showtime was supposed to televise in February 2019 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Mares realizes fans and media doubt he would’ve defeated Davis, but he is sure he had what it took at the point to knock off a powerful southpaw who has won world titles in three weight classes.
“When they pulled the plug basically because of my injury, you know, I had unfinished business with ‘Tank’ Davis,” Mares said during a recent virtual press conference to promote the Ruiz-Ortiz card. “I was gonna fight ‘Tank’ Davis, a great fight. People can still talk and say that, ‘You woulda lost.’ No. At that time, I woulda beat ‘Tank’ Davis.”
Davis stopped Mares’ late replacement, Hugo Ruiz, in the first round of their 12-round bout 3½ years ago. While Mares remained out of action, Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) went on to knock out five of his six opponents after he beat Ruiz and captured secondary WBA belts in the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.
Despite his long layoff, Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs), of Montebello, California, is favored to defeat Flores (25-4, 12 KOs), of Spring, Texas. Flores has lost two of his past three fights, including a 12-round unanimous decision to Mares’ nemesis, Leo Santa Cruz, in their 12-round, 130-pound title fight in November 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Mares-Flores will be the second of three fights FOX Sports Pay-Per-View will air as part of the Ruiz-Ortiz undercard from Crypto.com Arena. Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs), of Imperial, California, is consistently listed as a 3-1 favorite to beat Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs, 2 NC), a Cuban southpaw who lives and trains in Miami.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.