Mares Struggles Against Oquendo
Former three division champion Abner Mares shook off an 11 month layoff by outpointing Jonathan Oquendo in their 10 round featherweight bout on the Alvarez-Lara undercard last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting for the first time since losing his WBC featherweight title to Jhonny Gonzalez last August 24th, 2013, Mares showed a lot of ring rust to start the fight. He found his groove as the fight went on and demonstrated his superior boxing skills and technique to keep the game Oquendo at bay.
After the fight, Mares admitted “feeling a little rusty” in the ring, but believed that “he did enough to win the bout”. The judges agreed and awarded Mares the unanimous decision victory with the scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 96-94. But it was not easy.
Oquendo opened a nasty cut above Mares’ left eye in the fourth round which caused a lot of concern from his corner. Mares bled profusely from the cut and it seemed that it would potentially halt the bout. But Mares’ cut man Stitch Duran did a tremendous job in managing the cut in between rounds as it literally closed as the fight progressed. The cut became a non-factor as the rounds went by because Oquendo failed to capitalize on the advantage.
Looking for the KO
Jonathan Oquendo had every opportunity to beat Mares with the cut and the slow start, but it seemed that he was focused on getting a knockout over Mares. But that never materialized as it was obvious that Mares was the better boxer, landing more punches while at the same time avoiding Oquendo’s bombs using superior movement. It was his third loss to a top tier opponent. He previously lost to Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. and Juan Manuel Lopez. The loss to Mares dropped Oquendo’s record to 24-4 with 16 KOs.
Mares was supposed to fight Gonzalez in a rematch a couple of months ago, but had to pull out of the bout after suffering a rib injury while training. After the bout, Mares declared that he “was back” demanded his rematch with Gonzales. He also said that he is ready for any of the top 126 lbs fighters.
Mares changed his trainer after the loss to Gonzalez. The influence of Virgil Hunter was noticeable in this fight as the usually aggressive Mares looked more controlled and calculated in the ring against Oquendo. But this was the first time the two of them worked together, and it remains to be seen whether Mares’ new fighting style will make him conquer the featherweight division once again.
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