Mares injured; Davis to face Hugo Ruiz

-Three-division, four-time champion Abner Mares has been forced to pull out of the WBA Super Featherweight title match against two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis on Saturday, February 9 after suffering an injury while training.

Davis will now defend against former world champion Hugo Ruiz in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, with coverage beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Ruiz is an all-action brawler who previously picked up a world title at super bantamweight in 2015 and most recently defeated Alberto Guevara in January on the Pacquiao vs. Broner PPV event in a featherweight fight. Ruiz, who owns 18 first round knockouts, floored Guevara in the opening minute and cruised to a near-shutout decision victory.

He had originally been slotted for an interim title shot against Jhack Tepora in January before Tepora missed weight, but will now have his chance to fight for a belt against one of the most-feared punchers at 130-pounds on February 9. The 30-year-old from Sinaloa, Mexico stands at five feet, nine inches tall, nearly four inches taller than Davis, and has won three straight fights leading up to this fight.

“I trained for three months to fight a southpaw when I fought in January,” said Ruiz. “When the opponent changed, it was hard to adjust in 24 hours. After the fight I immediately went back to the gym, because you never know what’s going to happen in boxing. I’m 100 percent ready to knockout Gervonta Davis.”

“Hugo Ruiz has another opportunity to fight for a world title because he’s demonstrated that he’s devoted to boxing and his career,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Ruiz’s Promoter. “He went right back to the gym after his last fight. He’s ready for another great opportunity to be a world champion and he’s going to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Mares injured his right elbow during sparring at the Robert Garcia Boxing Gym in Riverside, Calif. Mares said he had experienced soreness in his elbow following the past two fights, but nothing that had ever given him nor his team concern.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’m disappointed and devastated that I’ve injured my right elbow in sparring,” Mares said. “This is something that I haven’t had happen to me during my career and the feeling is just horrible. I will be going to see my doctor about this and am prepared to follow whatever recommendations and rehab that gets me back into the ring. I’m healthy, not afraid of doing the work and I will be back. This is a temporary setback. Don’t count me out.”

“Boxing is a sport of brains, passion and physical punishment,” said Mares’ trainer Robert Garcia. “When you’re in the ring sparring with talented, top-class sparring partners, the chances of injuries are very high. That was the situation in this case. He was sparring top young fighters and he injured his elbow. He cannot fight like that, especially in a fight against Davis.”

Mares, who has engaged in numerous memorable fights throughout his storied career, was seeking to move up in weight and looking to capture his fifth world title in a fourth weight class.

The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing

Gervonta Davis moves training camp to Los Angeles

Two-time super featherweight world champion Gervonta Davis is relocating his training camp today and traveling from his hometown of Baltimore to finish camp in Los Angeles as he prepares defend his title against three-division world champion Abner Mares. Davis vs. Mares will headline a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader on Saturday, February 9 from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Davis, along with longtime trainer Calvin Ford, will be working at Ten Goose Boxing Gym as he nears this showdown that will serve as Davis’ first U.S. main event.

“Camp is going great, my weight is good and everything I had planned to do is on schedule,” said Davis. “I decided to move camp to Los Angeles to train in the same weather I’ll be fighting in and to get the long flight out of the way. Get your tickets now before they sell out, because you don’t want to miss my first SHOWTIME main event!”

“We decided to break camp and head to Los Angeles sooner than anticipated to allow Gervonta to get used to the change in altitude and climate,” said Ford. “We’re also taking into consideration that the fight will be outside. Everything with his training is on point and going as scheduled toward an explosive performance on February 9.”

Davis had previously scheduled a Baltimore media workout for Wednesday, before deciding to relocate for the final days of training.

Tickets for the event, promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.

Photo: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment

Gervonta Davis-Abner Mares set for February 9

Two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis will defend his WBA title against three-division world champion Abner Mares on Saturday, February 9 live on SHOWTIME in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Davis vs. Mares promises fireworks and high-stakes action as both men bring their fan-friendly styles to the ring. Davis, an unbeaten southpaw who earned his nickname “Tank” by powering through opponents, has thunder in both fists with 19 of his 20 fights ending in knockout. Mares, who has engaged in many memorable fights throughout his storied career, will be moving up in weight and looking to capture a world title in a fourth weight class.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions in association with Ringstar Sports, go on sale Saturday, December 22nd can be purchased at AXS.com.

“This matchup is sure to make for a crowd pleaser, as both guys are known for delivering action when they step into the ring,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Mares has an impressive resume and is determined to hand Davis his first loss. Davis has made a lot of noise in the sport at a young age and isn’t slowing down. He executes impressively and continues to prove that he will be the next big star in boxing.”

“Abner Mares is looking to join a select group of boxers by winning a title in his fourth different weight class and carrying that kind of motivation into the ring is the thing that can propel a boxer to greatness,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “We’ve already seen the kind of speed and explosive punching power that Gervonta Davis brings into the ring. I expect that Mares will push him to even higher levels and that is the kind of match that should excite all boxing fans.”

“This is an intriguing matchup for both men at crucial points of their careers,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, SHOWTIME Sports. “Abner Mares has never backed down from a challenge, quietly building one of the strongest resumes in all of boxing while consistently delivering fight-of-the-year performances.  In his first fight in the super featherweight division, Abner will be facing Gervonta Davis, one of the strongest, most talented and most exciting young champions in all of boxing.  Abner seeks another signature upset in a remarkable career, while Gervonta looks to continue his streak of 11 straight stoppages against the most experienced and accomplished opponent he has faced to date.  With these two come-forward, all-action fighters, boxing fans can expect another thrilling Showtime Championship Boxing main event.”

Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) became the youngest reigning American world champion in 2017 when he delivered a star-making performance on SHOWTIME by knocking out Jose Pedraza for the IBF 130-pound title at just 22 years old. He became the youngest two-time world champion in April when he knocked out Jesus Cuellar in the third round of their WBA Super Featherweight Championship bout. The 24-year-old from Baltimore, Md., has earned the reputation as a power-punching menace as he has stopped all but one of his professional opponents.

Santa Cruz: ‘I’d definitely love to stop him’

LOS ANGELES (May 22, 2018) – Featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz hosted a media workout in Los Angeles Tuesday as he prepares for his world title rematch against four-time world champion Abner Mares Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. The consensus top-five featherweights will look to put on a repeat of the performance that saw them throw over 2,000 punches combined.

“I think Abner has looked better in recent fights, but not so much that he looks unbeatable or anything,” Santa Cruz said at media workout today. “He’s shown some improvements but I feel I’ve gotten much better as well. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m going to come out victorious.

“He says he’s going to box me more this time, but it’s easier to say that than do it. When you get in the ring and hear the fans, they make you want to brawl. Once you hear the crowd you want to entertain them. You love to hear the people scream.

“I’m going to try to go out there and give the fans a great fight like I always do. I feel like I’m in great condition right now. I feel a lot stronger and even my dad has told me this is as good as he’s seen me look.

“I’ve learned a lot since the first Mares fight. I’ve learned how to adjust during a fight better. I’m a more complete fighter and it’s going to help me look even better this time.

“I’m still as motivated as ever. I have the same hunger as if this fight was for my first title. I never underestimate anyone and always give it my all in the gym. It’s no different heading into this one.

“We’re going to try to win bigger this time but I’ll be ready to go 12 rounds. I’d definitely love to stop him. If the knockout comes it comes, and if I see an opening I’m going to take advantage.”

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also feature unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo defending his title against former world champion Austin Trout.

Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Santa Cruz: ‘When two Mexicans get in there, you know it’s going to be a war’

LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2018) – Featherweight world champions Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares met face to face at a press conference in downtown Los AngelesTuesday and discussed their world championship rematch taking place Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.

Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday at the open to the public press conference from STAPLES Center in Star Plaza in Los Angeles:

LEO SANTA CRUZ

“It was a really close fight the first time. Before the fight, I told him I would give him the rematch, just like I would have wanted if I lost. Now is the time and I think this fight is going to be even better than the first fight. Mares will be better with Robert Garcia. He has many champions and I’ve seen the improvement. That’s great motivation for me.

“I know he’s going to seek revenge, but I’m not going to let that happen. My dad is a smart man too and he always knows how to send me to the ring with the right style.

“When two Mexicans get in there, you know it’s going to be a war. I hope everyone comes out June 9 because it’s going to be a fight to remember.

“Every time I step into the ring, I do it for the fans. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I always want the fans to go home happy. I want to give the fans a great show on June 9 just like in the first fight.

“I think that Abner is going to be a little smarter than the first fight. He said in the first fight he didn’t train for the right fight. I know Robert Garcia will have him bring a smarter fight. We’ll be able to adjust and do what we have to do to win this one.

“I have to make some little changes. There will be adjustments. We have to be prepared to box. I’ll listen to what my dad tells me to do. We’ll know early and take it from there. I know how to fight different styles, but brawling is what the fans love. I’m going to do that while still being smart in the ring.

“This fight is dedicated to my dad as he battles cancer. The only way I can pay him back or try to lift his spirits is to train hard in the gym and give him this win. If he sees me not giving up, I think it will give him the courage to keep fighting his battle.

“It was hard after the loss to Carl Frampton. I got a lot of fan support that inspired me to get back to training and win my title in the rematch. My plan was to retire undefeated, but at the end of the day, the loss means nothing. As long as I give the fans great fights, that’s all that matters.”

ABNER MARES

“This is going to be another great one. Leo Santa Cruz is a great person and a humble guy. You have to be the bad guy against Leo. I could talk about what I’m going to do in the ring, but my fists and my brain will do the work for me.

“Once we get in the ring, you already know what it’s going to be. It was war from the first bell last time. Nothing could stop either of us. We pleased the fans and gave them a great night. This is going to be the same thing. We’re two young fighters, fighting for pride.

“The fight is here now and it’s official. I’m eager to get this win and get redemption. There were things I could have done that would have made the fight easier for myself. Once you get in there, I know we all have a plan, but once you hear the crowd, it can go out the window. I’m a warrior and that type of fighter who’s looking to get the win no matter what.

“I’m not worried about the decision in the first fight. I think he landed the clearer punches but it was definitely a close fight. I was happy with my performance as far as pleasing the crowd. I’ve moved on to the rematch. I’m going to make adjustments and get the win.

“I can talk about how I’ve changed, but you just need to look at my last two performances. People thought Jesus Cuellar was going to knock me out, but I was the one who dropped him That lets you know what type of team I have and what kind of Abner Mares you will see on June 9.

“It feels good to be back fighting Leo for the second time at STAPLES Center. Every time I fight here in Los Angeles the people show me love. This is my hometown and STAPLES Center is my house.

“I’ve always seen holes in Leo’s game that I can take advantage of. It’s a matter of going in there with the perfect game plan. I feel like there’s no way I can lose this fight. That makes it a more exciting fight. If he wants to box, I’m more natural than him doing that. We’ll see who’s done their homework and who can translate it to the ring.”

Photos from Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME
 

 

Santa Cruz-Mares 2 set for June 9

LOS ANGELES (April 2, 2018) – A rematch between featherweight world champions and Southern California rivals Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will headline action Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale today at 12:00 p.m. PT. To purchase tickets visit AXS.com or click HERE at 12:00 p.m. PT.

Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) and Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) first met in August 2015 at STAPLES Center and went toe-to-toe for 12 fast-paced rounds, with Santa Cruz eventually earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.

The initial matchup garnered “Fight of the Year” recognition and warranted a rematch between the consensus top five featherweights who will look to put on a repeat of the performance that saw them throw over 2,000 punches combined.

“This is a fight that fans have been clamoring for and a fight that is certain to deliver action and drama,” said Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports. “This is once again a true battle for Los Angeles, with only one man able to walk out of STAPLES Center with that crown as the best in the city. Fans should get their tickets early, because this is sure to be a hot ticket given the styles of each man and the motivations they have to win this fight. I can’t wait to see what happens on June 9 and I look forward to another memorable fight.”

“It is rare that a rematch is as highly anticipated as the initial match, but Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 is one of those rematches,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “Since their first match both Leo and Abner have gone on to solidify their positions at the top of the featherweight division, making a second meeting between them even more compelling. The winner will definitely become the man sitting at the top of a very competitive 126-pound division.”

“We are incredibly excited for this rematch of Southern California rivals to take place at STAPLES Center,” Lee Zeidman, President, STAPLES Center.” Boxing fans are in for an amazing night of fights in downtown Los Angeles on June 9th.”

“SHOWTIME is proud to deliver yet another pivotal matchup between two of the consensus top-five featherweights in the world,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programing, Showtime Networks Inc.  “Santa Cruz-Mares 1 was a Fight of the Year-caliber fight with non-stop action from start to finish, and the rematch promises more of the same – with not just a world title at stake, but also Southern California bragging rights. This is the type of marquee bout that has become a hallmark of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, a true 50-50 showdown with high stakes implications.”

The popular Mexican-American Santa Cruz fights out of Los Angeles and most recently stopped Chris Avalos in October 2017 after a pair of high stakes showdowns against Irish star and two-division world champion Carl Frampton. While Santa Cruz lost a close majority decision in their first matchup, he bounced back in January 2017 to defeat Frampton by majority decision and regain his 126-pound title. Prior to that, Santa Cruz won belts at 118 and 122 pounds while earning a reputation as one of boxing’s most active and exciting fighters. The 29-year-old also holds victories over Cristian Mijares, Kiko Martinez and Eric Morel and has competed in world title bouts in 14 of his last 16 fights since 2012.

“The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better,” said Santa Cruz. “I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we’re also smart and I have a strong team that will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight once again for the boxing fans in Los Angeles.”

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif., Mares became a four-time world champion in December 2016 when he dropped Jesus Cuellar on his way to a unanimous decision and another featherweight world championship. Mares most recently scored a technical decision over Andres Gutierrez in October 2017. A Mexican Olympian in 2004, the 32-year-old won his first title in 2011 when he beat Joseph Agbeko to capture the bantamweight crown. He continued to rise in the pound-for-pound list with victories over Anselmo Moreno and DanielPonce De Leon to win world titles at super bantamweight and featherweight. The June 9 bout will be Mares’ third contest with World Champion trainer Robert Garcia, who helped Mares to a title-winning victory in their first fight together.

“It’s been over two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption,” said Mares. “Now that I’m with Robert Garcia and his team, you’ve seen the change. If they think I’m going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise.”