Featherweight star Abner Mares (28-1-1, 15KO’s) spoke with Fighthype.com and cast his eye over the upcoming fight between defending champion (57-8, 48KO’s) and Gary Russell Jr(25-1, 14KO’s) for the WBC World Featherweight title, scheduled for March 28th in San Antonio, Texas.
Gonzalez gained the title with an upset victory by handing Mares his first career loss in August 2013 by knocking him out in the first round. He has defended it twice since and is on a bit of a roll as he looks to dispel the efforts of another young rival.
Russell also suffered through the maiden defeat of his career against Vasyl Lomachenko midway through last year in his first attempt at a world title. He was soundly outpointed by the Ukranian but got right back on the horse with a points win over Christopher Martin six months later.
Mares feels the pressure is on the man who dethroned him going into the fight.
“It’s a tough fight man; it’s a tough fight for both. I think it’s a tougher fight for Jhonny Gonzalez because Russell has nothing to lose, he lost already against Lomachenko and people don’t really expect much of him because, you know, he hasn’t proved himself.”
Although that summary is quite contemptuous towards Russell and his achievements so far, Mares does feel that the style match-up bodes well for the younger man given the champion’s history.
“But, here’s the thing; Jhonny Gonzalez has trouble with southpaws. Go and look at his background, his resume, all the fighters he lost to; southpaws. He lost to Ponce de Leon; southpaw, he lost to Gerry Penalosa; southpaw, he got knocked out by the Japanese fighter[Toshiaki Nishioka]; southpaw. So what does that tell you? He’s got trouble with southpaws. That’s the only thing I see, and this guy quick, he’s fast Gary Russell, so it’s going to be an interesting fight.”
It’s safe to say that Mares feels the key to victory lies in Russell’s left hand, but there are more elements in play when you consider Gonzalez’s huge advantage in experience; he’s knocked more people out than Russell has even faced. Mares, despite being one of those victims, says he is wholeheartedly looking to rectify what happened to him when he lost his title should Gonzalez come through the victor here.
“That’s definitely a fight I’m looking for in the future, I wanna fight him, I want my revenge, I want to beat him and I will beat him.”