Mares-Agbeko rematch looms Saturday
Another crazy and crowded boxing week is upon us with competing fight cards throughout Southern California and culminating with a bantamweight world title bout on Saturday in Anaheim and a junior middleweight title bout in New York City.
IBF bantamweight world titleholder Abner Mares (22-0-1, 13 KOs) reloads for a rematch against Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) on Saturday, at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Their first encounter was both controversial and explosive. Showtime will televise.
It was a mere four months ago that Montebello, California’s Mares slugged it out with Ghana’s Agbeko in a brutal 12-round affair. The Mexican-born Mares focused most of his attack on Agbeko’s body with many of those blows veering south of the beltline.
Point deductions were taken from Mares who was not entirely to blame for all of the low blows because of Agbeko’s defensive tactic of pushing his attacker’s head down. It’s a useful defensive measure against a body attack but forces blows to hit lower than targeted.
The television announcers focused on the low blows and though Mares was judged the winner, the victory was tainted by the below-the-belt issue. A rematch was called for and granted.
Mares and Agbeko were both willing and happy to oblige each other and promise more of the same type of action from their first clash.
“I'm a perfectionist and I'm definitely going to go to the body. 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,” said Mares who trains in Santa Fe Springs.
Former champion Agbeko showed class and sportsmanship in previous conversations and called Mares a good fighter. Both are known for abilities to use their strength, punching power and boxing skills to change directions in a fight if necessary.
“I think Agbeko is a more complete fighter than the last two fighters I fought (Yonnhy Perez and Vic Darchinyan),” Mares said. “The way he kind of pulls down and the way he hides his head is pretty good.”
Honda Center card
The Armenian born Darchinyan (37-3-1, 27 KOs) returns to the ring in the co-main event at the Honda Center and faces WBA bantamweight titleholder Anselmo Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KOs) a boxing cutie from Panama who has made eight consecutive title defenses.
Can Moreno survive the bludgeoning southpaw attack of Darchinyan?
“I've had eight title defenses, but I needed a name like Vic Darchinyan to put my name out there on the map,” says the confident Moreno. “My style fascinates me; when they are right in front of me and I can make them miss. They miss and I counter them. That's the art of boxing. Hit and not be hit.”
Confidence in opponents seems to amuse Darchinyan who’s no bashful shrinking violet either.
“I know Moreno is a great fighter and wants to take me out, but if I win this fight I want to fight the winner of Agbeko-Mares. I just love to fight,” says Darchinyan. “Anyone who comes, I'm just going to destroy him.”
New York City
WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) looks to avenge his loss to Mexico’s Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.
The last time they met Margarito bludgeoned Cotto to a bloody surrender and became Mexico’s darling. Then, in his next fight, Margarito was caught with illegal hand wraps moments before stepping in against Pomona’s Shane Mosley. Margarito was destroyed and Mosley’s biggest victory was ignored. The boxing media and fight world chose to focus on the illegal wraps. Cotto feels he lost to Margarito because of the indiscretion.
“He’s just a cry baby,” said Margarito of Cotto’s constant reminder.
Cotto feels he lost because Margarito fought with loaded gloves though no one could prove that occurred back in 2008. They will fight again but this time Margarito enters with a damaged eye that almost derailed the rematch.
Fights on television
Thurs. Fox, 11 p.m., Hugo Centeno (11-0) vs. David Lopez (3-6-3).
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Anthony Dirrell (23-0) vs. Renan St. Juste (23-2-1).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Randy Caballero (12-0) vs. Arturo Santiago (7-3-1).
Sat. HBO pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Miguel Cotto (36-2) vs. Antonio Margarito (37-7); Brandon Rios (28-0-1) vs. John Murray (31-1); Pawel Wolak (29-1-1) vs. Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3).
Sat. Spike TV, 6 p.m., Michael Bisping (22-3) vs. Jason Miller (24-7).
Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Abner Mares (22-0-1) vs. Joseph Agbeko (28-3).
BY DAVID A. AVILA
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