Three-division world champion explains why he didn’t initially reveal the real reason for cancelling Saturday’s fight versus Gervonta Davis, and discusses his boxing future.
Abner Mares has been a professional boxer for 14 years. Mares has experienced the highs and lows that come with the sport, but what occurred over the past couple weeks was something he hadn’t quite encountered before.
Mares, 31-3-1 (15 KOs), was brimming with confidence heading into his scheduled February 9 showdown versus WBA world super featherweight champion, Gervonta Davis. Davis, 20-0 (19 KOs), was a betting favorite against Mares, who was fighting at the 130-pound limit for the first time.
But the 33-year-old Mares was unbothered by the perceived weight disadvantage. Having won world titles in three divisions, he’d already proven that skill can overcome size.
“I’m taking this fight because I see something in this guy,” Mares told reporters. “It’s a tough fight, no doubt. All fights are tough. He’s in for a good fight.”
All of that changed during a sparring session on Wednesday, January 23rd, when Mares felt a surge of pain in his right eye after taking a punch.
“I came back Friday for another sparring session, got hit again…and my eye got super red,” Mares said. “That Friday and Saturday, I started seeing clouds and having blurred vision.”
Mares’ wife insisted he get his eye checked the following Monday. Doctors discovered a detached retina. On Wednesday, January 30, Mares underwent emergency retinal detachment surgery at San Gabriel Hospital in San Gabriel, California—located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
However, the Davis bout was initially announced as cancelled due to an elbow injury, not because of a detached retina.
“I do have a bad elbow, but not that bad to cancel a fight,” Mares explained. “I mainly said elbow because I was afraid. I didn’t want people to know about my eye. I was scared to let people know that I was going through this. I don’t want people to see it as a handicap; that I can’t fight anymore, because I know I can.”
“ I honestly feel I’m going to come back, I’m going to conquer that, and become world champion once again. ” Three-division World Champion Abner Mares
Fans reacted by assuming the worst, taking to social media to accuse Mares of faking an injury to avoid Davis.
“If only people knew,” Mares said of the public’s hot take. “It was just heartbreaking…it really bothered me a lot. I even get a message from Gervonta saying that I faked the injury.
“In reality, people didn’t know what I was going through, the pain I was going through. I’m not that type of person, I’m not that type of fighter. I called out Davis, I wanted him.”
Upon hearing news of Mares’ detached retina, Davis, now scheduled to take on the dangerous Hugo Ruiz instead, was apologetic, Tweeting: “Ya health is more important than boxing. I hope you have a speedy recovery and enjoy time off with your family and friends.”
Mares is now focused on rehabilitation. This isn’t the first time he’s suffered such an injury.
“In 2008, I suffered a detached retina in my left eye,” Mares revealed during the latest episode of Inside PBC Boxing on FOX. “Eleven years later, I’m a four-time world champion. Unfortunately, I’ve suffered another one, in my right eye, but it doesn’t mean the end of my career.
“I feel strong, I feel that I’m going to come back after this. It’s just a matter of healing, resting and see what the doctor’s say…I honestly feel I’m going to come back, I’m going to conquer that, and become world champion once again.”
For a closer look at Abner Mares, check out his fighter page.
- Abner Mares