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Abner Mares vs. Yonnhy Perez Fight Preview and Prediction

When: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Showtime at 9:00p.m. (EST)
Weight Class: IBF Bantamweight Title: 12 Rounds

By Scotty L of

Abner Mares, 20-0 (13 KOs), Montebello, California. Vs. Yonnhy Perez, 20-0 (14 KOs), Santa Fe Springs, California.

Fight Odds: Abner Mares (+180), Yonnhy Perez (-220)

Analysis: On Saturday on Showtime, IBF Bantamweight Champion Yonnhy Perez defends his title against Abner Mares. The bantamweight division is heating up, with these two being two of the fresher faces on the scene. Perez has recently captivated the boxing hardcore with his comprehensive upset victory over champion Joseph Agbeko. Mares, on the other hand, has been a hot prospect in southern California slowly building to this point.

Perez is a punching machine, a busy, rubbery type fighter who can really take a lot of punishment. He seems very relaxed in the ring and is a master of the geometry of boxing. He uses angles expertly, knowing instinctively when to throw and when not to throw punches. He has the look of a natural fighter. You could say the same for Mares, though he is different stylistically. Mares likes to get inside, work the body, and get in position to land his power shots. I think Mares will be the aggressor in this fight.

Perez is no spring chicken at 31. He turned pro late, but has risen to every occasion. He beat some neophytes and journeymen, and then was thrown in against Silence Mabuza in a title eliminator Mabuza was favored to win. Perez surprised fans by scoring a 12th-round knockout. Despite that success, he was still the underdog against the feared Joseph Agbeko, who was coming off a clear win over Vic Darchinyan. Perez won a clear decision to establish himself as a real player in the deepening seas at bantamweight. Despite being at an age when most bantamweights slow down, Perez is still fresh with his best years ahead of him.

Mares has shown not only talent during his brief career, but also the tendency to please fans. His hustle-bustle, hard-punching style is a joy to watch. He has looked reasonably good, albeit against limited opposition, since returning from an eye surgery that forced him to sit out for a year. Itís not certain whether a detached retina at this point in his career is a concern. It very well might not be. It is possible, however, that it shows there is a chink in his armor.

Perez enjoys the advantage all champions have over their challengers: experience. While Mares had an extensive amateur career where he fought a multitude of different styles, he is an unknown quantity at the championship-level. He has only gone past 8 rounds twice. It should be noted that Perez was in this same position before his recent championship run. All things told, Mares does indeed look like a blue-chip prospect and this fight will not be a walk in the park for Perez.

Scotty's Pick to Win: I might be jumping the gun here, but Perez has the look of a special and unique talent. He is big for his weight, but doesnít rely on his reach and length. He can mix it up and doesnít appear the least bit uncomfortable in the trenches. He certainly didnít seem overwhelmed when infighting with proven battlers, like Mabuza and Agbeko. Perhaps Mares can provide more heat than those two men.

I think Mares is a future titlist who has good things ahead of him. This just might not be the best spot for him. I think the meteoric jump in class will dull some of the edge he has shown in previous performances. What he was able to do against journeymen isnít going to go over as well against a true world-class fighter in Perez. I see Perez controlling the tempo and distance, offsetting Mares with movement and counters, and pulling ahead in the late rounds to seal a clear win. Lay the Ė220 on Perez to win.

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