Battling bi-coastal fight cards take place on Saturday between bantamweights and junior middleweights.
I’ll take the little bombers.
IBF bantamweight titleholder Abner Mares (22-0-1, 13 KOs) defends against former titleholder Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Showtime will televise it and also the semi-main event. We’ll come to that later.
Last time we saw these two muscular 118-pounders a public outcry led by the Showtime announcing crew derailed Mares’s long-awaited world title celebration. Since he was first signed in 2004 by Golden Boy Promotions he was tabbed as a very likely prospect to gain the championship. Seven years later his victory was a hollow one.
Low blows were the culprit and most accused Mares and only Mares for the infraction while neglecting to mention that Agbeko continued to push the Californian’s head down whenever he went to the body. The Ghanan prizefighter was given a pass. Late in the fight an errant knockdown was charged against Agbeko but few observers refused to tally up the points. When it was all tabulated that knockdown was not the difference.
So here they go again. Mares was heading toward a hefty payday against Nonito Donaire but instead must return in the ring against a very smart fighter in Agbeko. Can Mares repeat the win?
“I'm a perfectionist and I'm definitely going to go to the body. I'm going to throw a lot of body punches. If I see that the ref is saying my punches are too low then I'm going to stop doing it,” said Mares, who trains in Santa Fe Springs, Ca.
Agbeko has shown class and sportsmanship in previous conversations and called Mares a good fighter. Both are known for abilities to use their strength, punching power and boxing skills to change directions in a fight if necessary.
“I think Agbeko is a more complete fighter than the last two fighters I fought (Yonnhy Perez and Vic Darchinyan),” Mares said. “The way he kind of pulls down and the way he hides his head is pretty good.”
The mini-bombers will definitely step up a notch in their rematch.
“Hopefully this time the fighters will decide on what they will do and how they will do it in the ring,” said Don King, who promotes Agbeko.
The Armenian born Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (37-3-1, 27 KOs), the IBO champion, returns to the ring in the co-main event at the Honda Center and faces WBA bantamweight titleholder Anselmo Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KOs) a boxing cutie from Panama who has made eight consecutive title defenses.
Can Moreno survive the bludgeoning southpaw attack of Darchinyan?
“I've had eight title defenses, but I needed a name like Vic Darchinyan to put my name out there on the map,” says the confident Moreno. “My style fascinates me; when they are right in front of me and I can make them miss. They miss and I counter them. That's the art of boxing. Hit and not be hit.”
Confidence in opponents seems to amuse Darchinyan who’s no bashful shrinking violet either.
“I know Moreno is a great fighter and wants to take me out, but if I win this fight I want to fight the winner of Agbeko-Mares. I just love to fight,” says Darchinyan. “Anyone who comes, I'm just going to destroy him.”
Darchinyan never disappoints.
Fights on television
Thurs. Fox, 11 p.m., Hugo Centeno (11-0) vs. David Lopez (3-6-3).
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Anthony Dirrell (23-0) vs. Renan St. Juste (23-2-1).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Randy Caballero (12-0) vs. Arturo Santiago (7-3-1).
Sat. HBO pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Miguel Cotto (36-2) vs. Antonio Margarito (37-7); Brandon Rios (28-0-1) vs. John Murray (31-1); Pawel Wolak (29-1-1) vs. Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3).
Sat. Spike TV, 6 p.m., Michael Bisping (22-3) vs. Jason Miller (24-7).
Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Abner Mares (22-0-1) vs. Joseph Agbeko (28-3).
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?