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  • By Miguel Maravilla Photo by Esther Lin Showtime

Abner Mares: This is My Second Wind

Former three-division world champion Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KO's) of Hawaiian Gardens, California by way of Gudalajara, Jalisco, Mexico is ready for his next challenge WBA featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KO's) of Argentina. Mares will challenge Cuellar on Saturday December 10, at the Galen Center on the campus of U.S.C live on Showtime Championship Boxing.

"Camp was great there was no injuries I stayed healthy, we are less than a week away and in good spirits ready to go," Abner Mares told Southern California "I feel younger and rejuvenated this is my second wind," Mares added.

Finally it’s here as Mares was scheduled to take on Cuellar back in June at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn however an eye injury as a result forced the fight to be postponed. Now Mares gets set to return as he’s been out of the ring since his fight of the year candidate loss against Leo Santa Cruz back in August of 2015.

"You will see the difference this time around. I have had a year with Robert and we have got to know each other," Mares said. "The way he trains is phenomenal I am happy to be with him," Mares on his return.

This was Mares’s first camp training with Robert Garcia as the duo has been working together in Riverside, California for the last year in preparation for Cuellar. Working with his fourth professional trainer as he has worked under Mexican trainer Nacho Beristan early in his career, then was trained by Southern California based Clemente Medina and had a brief stint with Virgil Hunter in the Bay area as he switched back with Medina before parting ways last year.

"I switched trainers to get a second win. He is an experienced trainer, coach can teach any style, he works with what I have," Mares on training with Robert Garcia

“Training has been great, almost a year together and this is our first fight. We have been in camp for a whole year except when the dates are postponed or cancelled. I give him about a week off then we go back to the gym,” Robert Garcia told Southern California “It’s all about learning he listens and follows instructions and he is training under my orders,” Garcia explained.

Having been introduced to Garcia by a friend at Abner’s headquarters the Del Mares Gym located at the Del Records, a Mexican music recording studio in Bell Gardens, California. The veteran trainer felt Mares was too relaxed and in his comfort zone training his state of the art gym. Garcia is definitely calling the shots for this camp.

“The first thing I told him, he was too comfortable. He had his own gym, a beautiful gym everything is state of the art but if he wanted my services, he would have to come to my gym,” Garcia stated. “The second thing I told him was that he would train on my time because he was not my only fighter. There is days that I miss, my dad or my son would be there and he agreed to everything. He needed a new voice, someone that he respects,” Garcia added.

"We talked about that and I was too relaxed. For example, I had my own gym. I trained on my own. I told coach what to do. I didn't want to be pushed," Mares "With Robert its what he wants,"

No longer close to home Mares takes the daily drive to Garcia's ranch stable as all training camps take a sacrifice.

"It's about an hour and a half drive and a great atmosphere. It's fun but its the drive that kills me," Mares said "I have not missed a day of training camp,"

Garcia talked more about his fighter.

“Abner is a fighter with a lot of talent and good skills. The transformation from one year ago to now at first he was having trouble with sparring but now we actually have to bring in new sparring,” Garcia on Mares.

Now the former champion looks to add a fourth title against the Argentine slugger. Cuellar will come into the fight with a one-year layoff. His last fight was a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo last year in December. Cuellar was trained by Robert Garcia as he guided Cuellar to a world title.

"Cuellar is a strong competitor, he can punch. Robert and I have been working on a planc to come out on top," Mares on Cuellar.

“Cuellar at 126 has unbelievable power, he is the hardest hitting featherweight but when it comes to skills and technique Abner is way better. So we have to be very smart, cautious, and active stay busy that fight won be easy but I have a good feeling about this fight,” Garcia said of his former fighter.

‘This has been going on for a year and he hasn’t asked or demanded anything. He follows instructions and so far, so good,”

Cuellar vs. Mares will be a scheduled 12 round championship bout for Cuellar's WBA featherweight title. Mares will look to add another world title in his hometown.

"I will show you the new Abner. This is my second wind," Mares vowed.

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