Rising Mexican star Abner Mares (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will take on 36-year-old Eric Morel (46-2, 23 KOs), with the winner claiming the vacant WBC jr. featherweight title, held most recently by Toshiaki Nishioka, who was stripped to sanction this fight for the title. This fight will headline Showtime’s World Championship Boxing, set to begin at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT, and will take place at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas.
Mares, 26, the former IBF bantamweight champion, is looking to claim his second world title. The dedicated body puncher from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico won a foul-filled brawl with Joseph Agbeko last August to win the title, as well as the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament championship trophy. After the controversy Mares accepted the IBF’s mandate to grant Agbeko an immediate rematch, and dominated Agbeko in their return bout, winning on all three judges’ scorecards 118-110. With few bankable opponents left in the bantamweight division, Mares decided to move up to the 122-pound division after Nonito Donaire, and will test the waters against Morel.
Morel, the former WBA flyweight champion, is hoping for a career revival. He held the WBA flyweight title from 2000 to 2003, but came up short against Martin Castillo in 2005, when he moved up to challenge for the WBA super flyweight title. After walking away from a title fight with Fernando Montiel in August of 2010, Morel has struggled to land a meaningful fight. In Mares, Morel has one more shot at a world title by taking out a young, undefeated fighter still on the rise. Morel last fought on the undercard of Mares’ victory over Agbeko in December, when he cruised to an easy unanimous decision over Jose Silveira.