A lot has been made of the ring return of Abner Mares.

Miguel Flores understands the commotion surrounding his better-known foe but wants to remind fans that he’s not here to serve as just the fighter in the opposite corner.

“We’re not taking the role of opponent for Mares’ comeback fight or farewell fight,” Flores told BoxingScene.com. “He’s going to be in for a surprise.”

Mares-Flores is part of a four-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event airing live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles (Sunday, 9:00 p.m. ET, $74.99). The event is also available to purchase online through Fite TV and PPV.com.

The fight is the first for Mares (31-3-1, 15KOs) since a points loss to four-division and reigning WBA featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz in their June 2018 rematch. The former three-division titlist—who represented Mexico in the 2004 Athens Olympics—was due to challenge then-WBA junior lightweight champ Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in a bid to win a title in a fourth division but had to bow out of their February 2019 bout after suffering a detached retina in his right eye.

Interestingly, Flores (25-4, 12KOs) lost out on a title opportunity around that same time. The veteran fringe contender from the greater Houston area was due to challenge Santa Cruz on a Fox show, only to suffer an ankle injury forcing his withdrawal. The fight would work its way back around later that November, coming at junior lightweight and with Flores dropping a competitive but clear twelve-round decision.

Just two fights have followed, including a frightening knockout loss to Eduardo Ramirez in their December 2020 WBA featherweight title eliminator. Flores bounced back with an eight-round split decision win over veteran journeyman Diuhl Olguin last June in Houston, since waiting for his next opportunity.

Flores patiently waited out instructions for a planned clash with Mares. Several dates were mentioned before the fight materialized for this weekend after Mares passed a series of extensive medical exams over the past couple of years. Mares had deflected any concern of prolonging his career by insisting he’s only taking things one fight at a time and uncertain if he will even continue with his career after Sunday.

Flores has far grander plans for his own future, far more than serving as cannon fodder for his legendary opponent.

“It’s obviously a big opportunity to take a great name and put it on my resume,” Flores noted of the matchup. “Three-division world champion, it’s easy to say that but hard to accomplish that. I can beat a guy who has been a three-division champion and probably a Hall of Famer. That’s what this means to me.”

The ten-round lightweight bout will serve in supporting capacity to the Andy Ruiz-Luis Ortiz WBC heavyweight title semifinal eliminator.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox