|Super bantamweight champ Abner Mares stops challenger Anselmo Moreno in tracks|
Abner Mares has proved a lot during his seven-plus years as a professional boxer. The super bantamweight world champion from Hawaiian Gardens was given another tough assignment Saturday - track down and beat a slick southpaw who runs and moves with regularity.
Not only did Mares deck Anselmo Moreno in the fifth round - the first time Moreno has been down in his career - Mares demonstrated his tremendous ability to adjust to a very awkward opponent by defending his belt with a wide unanimous decision over Moreno in front of 6,341 at Staples Center.
Mares (25-0-1) won by scores of 116-110 (David Sutherland), 116-110 (Marty Denkin) and 120-106 (James Jen Kin). This newspaper had Mares winning by a 117-109 count.
Mares had to literally run after Moreno at times. But Mares was relentless in his pursuit. He said that was the plan.
"Definitely," he said. "When you have someone like that, with that style and that kind of finesse, you can't let him get comfortable or he will pick you apart."
Mares floored Moreno (33-2-1), a bantamweight champion from Panama who moved up in weight for this fight, with a barrage of punches in the fifth.
"Yeah, it's always surprising when you see a super champion like Anselmo Moreno go down," Mares said. "I felt the punch, I didnt know it was that hard. But he got up and went the whole 12 rounds."
Said Moreno: "He was very strong and I got caught by his shots. I was careless
when I went down in the fifth."
Moreno was chagrined about the scorecards, especially the one doled out by Jen Kin.
"I thought the fight should have been closer," he said. "I'm unhappy that the one judge didn't give me at least one round. But Abner fought a great fight."
In the eighth, Mares - perhaps a bit gassed - stood in a neutral corner and challenged Moreno to come in. Moreno did and was clobbered with a big right hand. Mares waved him in as if to say, "Come on." The right cross was a big scoring punch for Mares, who landed it several times.
Moreno was deducted a point in the 11 th for pulling Mares' head down. Mares probably should have lost a point in the same round for a low blow because he had already been warned. But referee Raul Caiz Jr. let it go. Also in that round, Moreno landed a right hook that seemed to stun Mares just a bit.
Moreno did land his share of punches, the left cross in particular. But he spent too much time trying to stay away from Mares to be effective enough to win rounds.
Now Mares is going to continue to call out fellow super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, who will defend his belt Dec. 15 against Jorge Arce.
Mares has made no secret about wanting to next fight Donaire, who is in every respected top 10 pound-for-pound poll.
It's not going to be an easy fight to make because Mares is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and Donaire by Top Rank Inc., chairman Bob Arum presiding.
"Oscar told me he would knock on Bob Arum's door to make that fight happen," Mares said.