|Feud taking the fight out of Abner Mares|
Fighters and their managers typically don't like to talk much about future opponents when a tough one is on front of them. To that end, super bantamweight champion Abner Mares and manager Frank Espinoza realize Anselmo Moreno won't be an easy foe to conquer when Mares and Moreno square off tonight in the main event at Staples Center (on Showtime).
But the dynamic duo admittedly has grown tired of the feud between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Inc., that, unless there is a dramatic change, is going to prevent Mares from getting the best possible fights.
If you read Mares' comments in this space five weeks ago, you know how important that is to him.
Prior to a public workout Monday at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, Mares and Espinoza readily - if painfully - discussed the subject.
Espinoza has become one of boxing's most respected managers. Understand that although he is no pushover, he needs a good reason to bust chops. For him to say the things he said means he's fed up with boxing's two most powerful promotional companies refusing to do business with each other unless forced to because of a purse bid, a mandatory defense or something of that nature.
"Oh, absolutely," said Espinoza, of West Covina. "To answer your question, yeah, it is very frustrating."
The fight Espinoza and Mares both want next - providing they get a win tonight - unquestionably is with fellow super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, who ranks highly on
respected top 10 pound-for-pound lists. That's where Mares wants to be and is good enough to be, but it will be difficult for him to get there unless he can duke it out with Donaire.
It's a fight that has been earned, Espinoza said, because of what Mares has done in his past five fights that have produced a 4-0-1 record against world champions or former world champions in Yonnhy Perez (a draw), Vic Darchinyan, Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko twice and Eric Morel.
"We have done everything asked of us," Espinoza said.
Now it's time for the best of the best. Espinoza won't take no for an answer.
"The only fight we want is Donaire," Espinoza said. "No if's, no but's, no nothing. We don't want to fight nobody else. That's the fight that we're looking to fight next.
"If Abner gets over on Moreno, that's the only fight that I want."
It's also the only fight desired by Hawaiian Gardens' Mares.
"Yeah, I think it's only right," he said. "I don't think anyone would think any different, seeing my resume and seeing the fights that I've had back-to-back, and I can't wait."
Mares, who is promoted by Golden Boy, said he will take his case directly to the powers that be at Oscar De La Hoya's company.
"I mean, like any worker, any job, when they're not getting what they want normally what they do is go on strike," Mares, 26, said. "But me, no, I don't think I have to do that.
"I've just gotta go in the office and talk to my team, Golden Boy Promotions, and be a gentleman about it and talk about it and hopefully Golden Boy and the whole crew could come to an agreement and make that fight happen."
Mares' contract with Golden Boy is up in 2014. If the long-running discord between Golden Boy and Top Rank is still preventing Mares from getting what he wants, whether it's a fight with Donaire or any other top fighter belonging to Top Rank, Espinoza will have a chat with Mares before re-signing with Golden Boy.
"Well, I mean, I think we have to have a conversation and certainly I would sit down and talk to Abner," Espinoza said. "But until then we have to respect our contract and then when the time comes, sit down and have that conversation."
If Mares, a class act, has become perturbed enough by that time, he may want to bolt. We asked him if he would, but he wouldn't quite go there.
"Really, I can't comment on that, to tell you the truth," Mares said, glumly.
Donaire, who will defend his belt Dec. 15 against Jorge Arce in Houston (on HBO), is promoted by Top Rank, whose chairman is Bob Arum. Arum recently told us, "Abner Mares has to make a decision. A Donaire-Mares fight can happen after Mares' contract runs out next year with Golden Boy."
Arum said something about the companies not being able to work together on that fight because Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer is "owned by Showtime."
The feeling here is that's just a smoke screen. Bottom line is Arum hates Golden Boy and vice versa and they'll come up with anything in defense of themselves.
Schaefer on Tuesday was told much of what Espinoza and Mares said. Schaefer was of no help.
"I think when Nonito Donaire's contract is up with Top Rank, which is going to be in a year or so, then I think he's going to have to think what he wants to do," Schaefer said.
We reminded Schaefer that basically is what Arum said about Mares, which at the time irked Schaefer.
"I guess so," Schaefer admitted. "What goes around, comes around."
Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs) weighed in at 121.8 pounds Friday, just under the 122-pound limit. The left-handed Moreno (33-1-1, 12 KOs), a former bantamweight champion out of Panama, tipped the scales at 120.8 pounds.