GBP-Top Rank peace could benefit Mares

Abner Mares should be rooting for peace between Golden Boy and Top Rank. Gene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

If there is one fighter in the Golden Boy Promotions stable who might benefit the most from the newfound peace between Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, it is clearly former three-division titleholder Abner Mares.

De La Hoya and Arum recently put aside years of animosity and pledged to work together on fights, at least where they make sense. That is music to Mares’ ears, since he has few marquee featherweights available to him in the Golden Boy stable while Top Rank has several of whom would make for interesting and marketable fights.

First, Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) needs to bounce back with a win against Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) in their scheduled 10-round bout, in the co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara junior middleweight fight on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

This will be Mares' first time fighting in the 11 months since he lost his featherweight belt by first-round knockout to Jhonny Gonzalez. But if Mares comes through, there could be potential fights against a quartet of Top Rank featherweight titleholders: Nonito Donaire (a fight that was one of boxing’s most anticipated bouts, but it didn’t happen because of the bad blood between companies), Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters.

“Obviously, you've heard the news, my promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, is looking to work with Top Rank on fights in the future and, look, they have great fighters, great champions,” Mares said. “I feel very comfortable at 126 [pounds] right now. That's what I have in front of me right now, and I have an opponent [Oquendo] that I'm concentrating on him.”

Mares would like to fight for a world title in a fourth weight class at some point, but he said he plans to stay at featherweight for the time being. Ideally, it would mean facing at least one of those Top Rank titleholders.

“I want to go in for the fourth division [title], but sometimes when you think with the heart only, it can run into mistakes and it could cost you,” he said. “It could have cost me a loss right there. So, right now, I'm making the weight very comfortable. I'm very happy at 126 and we're going to continue here.”