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Here’s a list of some of PBC's top rising stars. Boxers on this list are on a hot streak, like a slugger in baseball on a hitting streak or a running back in football who keeps posting 100-yard rushing games. They’re not ranked in any particular order. We’ll leave that to you—the reader.
On October 14th, five world champions retained their thrones, live on Fox and Showtime. Jordan Hardy recaps all the thrilling fight action from the night, plus we go another round of PBC Trivia!
Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares both publicly agreed that with wins on Saturday evening, the next logical step was a rematch of their August 2015 classic slugfest.
Win vs Andres Gutierrez
Oct 14, 2017 • StubHub Center, Carson, California
Abner Mares WINS against Andres Gutierrez by TD in Round 10 of 12
WIN vs Jesus Cuellar
Dec 10, 2016 • Galen Center, Los Angeles
Jesus Cuellar LOSES to Abner Mares by SD in Round 12 of 12
LOSS vs Leo Santa Cruz
Aug 29, 2015 • Staples Center, Los Angeles
Leo Santa Cruz WINS against Abner Mares by MD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Arturo Santos Reyes
Mar 07, 2015 • MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Abner Mares WINS against Arturo Santos Reyes by UD in Round of 10
Win vs Jose Ramirez 25-4-0
Dec 13, 2014 • MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Jose Ramirez by RTD in Round 5 of 10
Win vs Jonathan Oquendo 24-3-0
Jul 12, 2014 • MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Jonathan Oquendo by UD in Round 10 of 10
Loss vs Jhonny Gonzalez 54-8-0
Aug 24, 2013 • StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA
Abner Mares LOSES to Jhonny Gonzalez by KO in Round 1 of 12
WIN vs Daniel Ponce De Leon 44-4-0
May 04, 2013 • MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Daniel Ponce De Leon LOSES to Abner Mares by TKO in Round 9 of 12
Win vs Anselmo Moreno 33-1-1
Nov 10, 2012 • Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Anselmo Moreno by UD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Eric Morel 46-2-0
Apr 21, 2012 • Don Haskins Convention Center, El Paso, Texas, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Eric Morel by UD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Joseph Agbeko 28-3-0
Dec 03, 2011 • Honda Center, Anaheim, California, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Joseph Agbeko by UD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Joseph Agbeko 28-2-0
Aug 13, 2011 • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, The Joint, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Joseph Agbeko by MD in Round 12 of 12
WIN vs Vic Darchinyan 35-2-1
Dec 11, 2010 • Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Washington, USA
Vic Darchinyan LOSES to Abner Mares by SD in Round 12 of 12
Draw vs Yonnhy Perez 20-0-0
May 22, 2010 • Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
Yonnhy Perez DRAWS with Abner Mares by MD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Felipe Almanza 17-15-4
Mar 25, 2010 • Club Nokia, Los Angeles, California, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Felipe Almanza by KO in Round 5 of 10
Win vs Carlos Fulgencio 11-2-1
Aug 27, 2009 • Club Nokia, Los Angeles, California, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Carlos Fulgencio by KO in Round 6 of 8
Win vs Jonathan Perez 14-5-0
May 02, 2009 • MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Jonathan Perez by RTD in Round 6 of 8
Win vs Jonathan Arias 15-1-0
Jun 27, 2008 • Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, California, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Jonathan Arias by UD in Round 10 of 10
Win vs Diosdado Gabi 30-3-1
Mar 15, 2008 • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Diosdado Gabi by TKO in Round 2 of 12
Win vs Damian David Marchiano 14-2-1
Nov 17, 2007 • Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Damian David Marchiano by UD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Isidro Garcia 24-3-2
Sep 07, 2007 • Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Isidro Garcia by RTD in Round 7 of 12
Win vs Saul Gutierrez 4-10-1
Jul 06, 2007 • Convention Center, McAllen, Texas, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Saul Gutierrez by UD in Round 6 of 6
Win vs Angel Antonio Priolo 30-5-0
Apr 20, 2007 • Cicero Stadium, Cicero, Illinois, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Angel Antonio Priolo by TKO in Round 6 of 10
Win vs Robert Allanic 16-2-0
Mar 02, 2007 • New Alhambra, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Robert Allanic by RTD in Round 8 of 10
Win vs Wilmer Rodriguez 8-0-0
Nov 25, 2006 • Dodge Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Wilmer Rodriguez by TKO in Round 4 of 10
Win vs Kevin Hudgins 5-5-0
Sep 15, 2006 • Aragon Ballroom 1106 W Lawrence, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Kevin Hudgins by UD in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Omar Adorno 14-5-1
Feb 24, 2006 • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Omar Adorno by UD in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Yamin Mohammad 5-9-1
Dec 16, 2005 • Convention Center, Austin, Texas, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Yamin Mohammad by UD in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Selso Bosquez 3-0-0
Sep 17, 2005 • MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Selso Bosquez by TKO in Round 4 of 6
Win vs Elvis Luciano Martinez 10-10-2
Jul 16, 2005 • MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Elvis Luciano Martinez by TKO in Round 3 of 6
Win vs Baladan Trevizo 4-8-3
Jun 16, 2005 • Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Baladan Trevizo by TKO in Round 5 of 6
Win vs David Vasquez 1-0-1
Apr 29, 2005 • Entertainment Center, Laredo, Texas, USA
Abner Mares WINS against David Vasquez by UD in Round 6 of 6
Win vs Francisco Soto 6-12-2
Feb 19, 2005 • Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Francisco Soto by KO in Round 5 of 6
Win vs Luis Malave 8-5-1
Jan 06, 2005 • Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Abner Mares WINS against Luis Malave by TKO in Round 2 of 6
Mares’ childhood was tough, and it only made him tougher still in the ring. Born in Mexico before immigrating to California when he was 7, Mares’ youth was spent in poverty and gangs before he turned to boxing as a teenager. After an outstanding amateur career, the former Olympian has went on to win four world titles in three weight divisions.
The boxing ring can be brutal and unforgiving, a place where dreams can quickly become nightmares.
For Mares, though, it’s long been a sanctuary, an escape from even tougher environs: the streets on which he grew up.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mares and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 7 years old.
Mares, one of 11 siblings, came of age in Hawaiian Gardens, California, a small, hardscrabble town in Los Angeles County with a long history of gang warfare.
For a time, Mares got caught up in that lifestyle, his youth marked by poverty and a hand-to-mouth existence.
A star from the start
At age 15, Mares was sent back to Mexico by his father so he could pursue a spot on the Mexican Olympic boxing team.
Extremely lonely and homesick, Mares was convinced by his parents to stick it out.
"I am the person I am now because of everything I went through as a child," he told Yahoo! Sports in 2013. "All that, eating out of trash cans, being in a gang, sleeping on the floor because I had nothing, living on my own at 15, that made me who I am. I grew up fast. I had a different life, but it's all good.”
Mares soon was rewarded for his perseverance, earning the gold medal at the 2002 World Cadet Championships and the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games.
He then won the silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games and the 2004 World Junior Championships.
Mares represented Mexico at the 2004 Olympics, competing in the Athens Games at 119 pounds.
He was eliminated after one fight, though, losing a controversial 27-24 decision to Zsolt Bedak of Hungary, and ended his amateur career with a record of 112-8 with 84 knockouts.
Rising into contention
Mares won his professional debut fighting at 122 pounds in January 2005, gaining a second-round technical knockout of Luis Malave in Tucson, Arizona.
Mares defeated Isidro Garcia in Tucson in September 2007 to improve his record to 14-0, stopping the former 112-pound world champion in seven rounds.
He won his next three fights before suffering an eye injury during training that required surgery.
Returning to the ring in May 2009, Mares defeated Jonathan Perez in six rounds in Las Vegas.
Mares got his first shot at a world title against unbeaten 118-pound champion Yonnhy Perez in Los Angeles in May 2010.
The bout ended in a 12-round majority draw, allowing Perez to retain his title, with one judge scoring it 115-113 in favor of Mares, while the other two judges had it at 114-114.
Realizing the dream
After defeating Vic Darchinyan in a 12-round split decision in December 2010, Mares got his second shot at a world championship at 118 pounds in August 2011.
This time, Mares was victorious, knocking down Joseph Agbeko in the first and 11th rounds en route to winning a 12-round majority decision in Las Vegas.
The two fighters met in a rematch in Anaheim, California, in December 2011, and again Mares emerged victorious, winning a 12-round unanimous decision to retain his title.
For Mares, winning a world championship was a culmination of the tough climb from the trials of his childhood, and it kicked off an 18-month run in which he would win world titles in three weight divisions.
“This shows I made it to something big, that I've done something good with my life,” Mares told the Los Angeles Times in 2012.
A champion at multiple weights
Mares moved up to 122 pounds to face Eric Morel for the vacant world championship in El Paso, Texas, in April 2012.
Mares entered the fight as an overwhelming favorite, and gained the title by winning a 12-round unanimous decision.
Mares defended his title against Anselmo Moreno in Los Angeles in November 2012, winning a 12-round unanimous decision.
He then moved up in weight again, challenging Daniel Ponce De Leon for his 126-pound world title in Las Vegas in May 2013.
Mares floored the champ in the second round before finishing him off in the ninth to become a three-division world champion and improve his record to 26-0-1.
Mares suffered his first pro defeat and lost his title in his next fight, getting KO’d in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez in Carson, California, in August 2013.
He bounced back with two victories in 2014, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo in July before stopping Jose Ramirez in five rounds in December.
A true PBC redemption story
Mares was part of the first Premier Boxing Champions card, taking on Arturo Santos Reyes at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on March 7, 2015, in a fight that aired on NBC Sports Network.
The former world champion won a 10-round unanimous decision in a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle.
Mares scored a second-round knockdown of Reyes to help win the fight by scores of 96-93, 98-91 and 99-90, and keep himself in contention for another shot at a world championship.
Mares gets his shot
That shot came 5 months later, when Mares and long-time friendly rival Leo Santa Cruz met in a highly-anticipated "Battle for Los Angeles." The two squared off in a PBC card aired on ESPN in front of a raucous hometown crowd at the Staples Center. In what would eventually be pegged as the 2015 PBC Fight of the Year, the two did not disappoint, throwing down over 12 brutal rounds, but Santa Cruz handed Mares just his second career defeat via Majority Decision.
A fresh start
Mares took some time off and re-evaluated some things in his career, and wouldn't return to the ring until more than a year later on December 10, 2016. With new trainer Robert Garcia in his corner, Mares got another shot at his fourth world title against Argentina's heavy-handed Jesus Cuellar. Under Garcia, Mares showed the elite-level boxing skills he'd displayed regularly as an amateur and early in his pro career, resisting the urge to brawl in the way he did with Santa Cruz. His consistent, patient work paid off, as he scored a late knockdown of Cuellar that helped lead the way to a Split Decision victory.
Now a 4-time world champion and a 2-time 126-pound world champion, Mares has his sights set on earning shots at the other champions lurking in the division - most notably a rematch with Santa Cruz in 2018.
“I am the person I am now because of everything I went through as a child.”