Abner Mares Overcomes (Anti)Social Media
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (April 21, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)
Abner Mares
The great thing about the internet and social media is that everyone gets to have an opinion and be heard. The bad thing about it is that sometimes you have to hear it. This was the case for former IBF bantamweight champion Abner Mares, in the immediate wake of his victory over Joseph Agbeko last summer to capture this belt. It was a well-contested bout but marred by numerous low-blows from Mares, which swung things in his favor.
There was outrage from one end of the Worldwide Web to another and much of it was directed at Mares himself, who faces Eric Morel for the vacant WBC 122-pound title this Saturday night at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas (Showtime, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT).
He admits it made enjoying his title difficult.

“Honestly, I did enjoy it with my family, obviously, because my family is always there for me. They’re happy for me. I was happy as well but at the end of the day, no matter how hard I tried to enjoy it, there  was always negativity,” said Mares this past Monday, his final day in Southern California at the MMA Elite Academy in Santa Fe Springs. “They were always posting stuff on my Facebook page, on my Twitter (@abnermares00), giving me pretty bad names. It’s hard not to think about that. It’s hard to just brush that stuff off and keep walking but I was able to adjust and, mentally, I didn’t let it get to me. I said to myself, ‘Y’ know what? If they’re talking about me this way, I’m going to prove them wrong and give Agbeko the rematch.’”
Ah, yes, the anonymity of the internet, where everyone can be a tough guy behind their laptops. Mares, who’s as friendly as they come in this brutal business, took it in stride. When asked about the worst thing he read, he chuckled after contemplating that question for a few seconds. “I’m gonna say they were comparing me to Andrew Golota, the ‘Lil’ Andrew Golota.’ They were calling me and it got to me but at the end of the day, thank God we were able to get that rematch and we were able to adjust and prove them wrong.”
Other boxers have decided to close their Twitter or Facebook accounts or make them private (and quite frankly, others should too- you know who I’m talking about) but Mares says he never considered doing this.
“Never. I definitely did not because doing that is saying, ‘You guys won; you guys trash-talked me so badly I gotta shut down my pages. I’m in my room crying,’ No, no, no, none of that. I’m a strong mental guy; I overcame that. I didn’t let it get to me. I continued with my pages, with my life and I was able to turn all that negativity around.” But a lesson was learned; as a public figure, fame and notoriety can be a double-edged sword. “I mean, back then, I was getting so used to people loving me, people always cheering for me, never having anything bad to say about me,” he admitted, “but now I know it comes with my job, with my profession. So I definitely have to get used to that. I know there’s always going to be fights people aren’t going to be happy about. You just gotta continue and adjust and keep on learning and give them whatever they want.”
After he clearly bested Agbeko in their rematch this past December without the assistance of referee Russell Mora, he was back in the good graces of the masses.
“It was everything; it was everything because I wasn’t really able to enjoy my championship after that first fight,” said Mares, who is just 26 years old. “It was just so much weight that was released, so much weight that was taken off my shoulders and I was just so, so happy with my family. We were able to enjoy it and now we’re able to basically continue our career because we were stuck with Agbeko all of last year.”
Yeah, for Mares, 2011 was “The Year of ‘King Kong’,” as he was originally scheduled to face the Ghanaian as part of Showtime’s April bantamweight tourney. It turned into a yearlong ordeal.
Mares recalled, “It was three camps we trained for Joseph Agbeko. The first time he got injured, it was the week of the fight when we got notice it was being canceled. Then obviously, the second fight, it was controversial and then the rematch, which we were able to win clearly. And no doubt, after that fight, it was just like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m done with this guy. I don’t need to hear about Joseph anymore. I’m through with this guy.’”

“I’m so happy he’s out of our lives now,” said Mares’ manager, Frank Espinoza, laughing at the thought. “When we fought the first fight, there was a controversy and then came the rematch and we wanted to clear up all doubts. We went back in there and fought a better fight and beat him clearly, so there was no doubt. Abner really proved the warrior spirit that he does have and the talent he possesses.”
Now he’s taking his talents to the junior featherweight division and admits he has bigger fights in mind after this weekend. One in particular.
“People say, ‘Well, you can’t be talking about other fights while you got this one.’ Obviously, I’m talking about Eric Morel; he’s my next fight but there’s no way, there’s no way you can’t think about other fights because they’re still mentioned. It’s human nature,” admitted Mares. “People are mentioning them so much, every time you bump into a fan, ‘Hey, when are you going to fight this guy?’ and the same name keeps popping up and at the end of the day, no doubt, we are looking at a fight with Nonito Donaire. That’s the fight we want. We’re fighting for that vacant 122-pound super bantamweight title. It’s going to put us in a great position. That’s my motivation right now. We’re staying hungry and, God willing, we’ll win this fight.”
But Donaire is promoted by Top Rank and there is that not-so-little-issue of the “Cold War” between them and Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Mares.
“We already approached Golden Boy, Richard Schaefer and Oscar [De La Hoya]. We mentioned this fight right after Agbeko and they said they could make it happen, ‘We’re more than willing to talk to Bob Arum, work something out, all in favor of boxing,’ and I’m not just making this up. This is what they said and hopefully, after this fight, everything comes out good. We’re going to talk to them and bring this fight up again. We’re going to mention it and hopefully, we can make it happen.”
Espinoza did confirm to Maxboxing, “We have approached them; we are interested in that fight. That’s a fight that Abner wants. I think this is the fight that the fans want to see. I think it’s a great fight for boxing as well. But there is the reality of it and there’s two promoters. It’s not impossible; I’m sure that it can be worked out. I think it’s something that the fans have to clamor for.”
While not “impossible,” it is still unlikely for the time being, given the two promotional titans don’t seem any closer on working together than they have in the recent past. It’s a shame; a Mares-Donaire fight is an attractive fight that can be built into something significant.
So, for now, Mares concentrates on Morel, a veteran of the game whose best form was a few years ago.

“I hope it’s the best Eric Morel. Why? Because I know people are mentioning his age. He hasn’t fought a great fight in a great while and that’s what makes him dangerous because he hasn’t had a war in a long time,” explained Mares. “So he’s fresh; he hasn’t been in battles in a long time. He’s hungry to become mentioned as a great fighter again and he’s coming with everything. And that’s my motivation and I know he worked really hard and I expect the best. 
“I trained for the best Eric Morel and hopefully, he brings it and we’re ready for it.”
So what’s next for Donaire?
The original plan was for him to be a part of Top Rank’s July 14th pay-per-view card at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas but, instead, he could return to the ring a week later as a headliner.

“Yes,” confirmed Bob Arum on Wednesday afternoon, “but that’s not finalized. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.” As for what network Donaire would appear on, Arum stated, “Whoever is going to do the pay-per-view on July 14th. We’ll link that up with the Donaire fight.”
Not sure what the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City was configured for on April 28th for the rematch between WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson but Golden Boy released this announcement on Wednesday:
Atlantic City (April 18)...Due to astronomical demand for tickets for "Once and For All: Hopkins vs. Dawson" at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, nearly 1,300 additional tickets have opened for sale so more fans can experience the intense rivalry between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson in person and see Seth Mitchell and Chazz Witherspoon square off in a heavyweight battle.
Tickets, priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25, are available for purchase at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. 
On the day that Hopkins and Dawson fight, earlier that day starting at 2 pm eastern time, tickets will go on sale for the June 16th match-up between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee, who face each other on June 16th at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Tickets are priced at: $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25 and can be purchased at the UTEP ticket center and all Ticketmaster outlets.
Tickets for the rematch between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz have also gone on sale (the following is also courtesy of a GBP press release):

Tickets, priced at $250, $150, $100 and $50, are available for purchase online at www.staplescenter.com and www.ticketmaster.com or via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available at STAPLES Center box office beginning Tuesday, April 17.
As for this weeks card in El Paso: Tickets, priced at $25, $50, $75 and $150, are available for purchase at the UTEP Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com.  For more information, please call: (915) 747-5234.
Here’s a look at Abner Mares outside the ring and his upbringing, produced by Showtime: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfprBcNjTH4&feature=youtu.be...Richard Schaefer tells me that if a visa can be secured for Vusi Malinga, he will face Leo Santa Cruz on Showtime’s quadruple-header from the Home Depot Center in Carson on June 2nd...Once again, Showtime Extreme will broadcast the undercard on Saturday night (7 p.m., ET/PT), showcasing the likes of Librado Andrade, Francisco Vargas and Chris Pearson...As I tweeted a few days ago, the heavy-handed Omar Figueroa is the newest Al Haymon client...Will Bernie Fine’s accuser make up his mind and get his story straight?...Is it just me or are the Memphis Grizzlies the team nobody wants to face in the West?...Not saying they have a favorable schedule but the only thing missing for the New England Pats is a homecoming game...Even Satchel Paige has to be impressed by Jamie Moyer...Geez, will Sean Peyton even be allowed to wear his Saints paraphernalia this upcoming NFL season?...

More of Steve's recent work below his contact info...
I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.
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