Mares signs deal with Golden Boy

If Abner Mares gets a shot at a bantamweight world title in 2010, which is expected, he will do it with Golden Boy as his promoter.

Mares, who has been with Oscar De La Hoya's company since turning professional following a run in the 2004 Olympics for Mexico, signed a new promotional agreement with Golden Boy on Tuesday.

"Golden Boy Promotions is like a family to me and I've felt that way ever since I signed with them and now I'm ready for my shot at a world title," Mares said in a statement.

Said De La Hoya: "It's been a great journey watching Abner go from raw prospect to legitimate contender over the last few years and I can't wait to see him take the next step and win a world title."

De La Hoya said the plan for the 23-year-old Mares is to have him fight a title elimination bout in early 2010 for the right to challenge titleholder Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan. If Mares wins the eliminator, De La Hoya hopes he can deliver the title shot to Mares in mid-2010.

"Golden Boy and Abner have been a spectacular team over the years and we're going to keep that streak going," said Frank Espinoza, Mares' manager. "The saying goes, 'If it's not broke, don't fix it,' and that's the way we feel. This is a winning combination and we're very happy to extend Abner's contract with the Golden Boy team."

Mares (19-0, 12 KOs) last fought on Aug. 27 and knocked out Carlos Fulgencio in the sixth round. It was the second win in a row for Mares, who lives in Southern California, since recovering from a career-threatening torn retina while preparing for a fight in October 2008. The injury forced Mares into an 11-month layoff.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.