SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win
By: Mike Sloan: The biggest fight of the weekend in the sport of boxing is without question the showdown between undefeated Abner Mares and opponent Eric Morel. One of the most highly-touted young fighters going today, Mares has reached the point in his career where he can take on the bigger names of his weight class; he is finished climbing the ladder. He’s been pumped up by the media and his handlers for years and he’s passed every test put in front of him.
Morel, on the other hand, has yet to regain all the luster he lost in 2005 when he was bested by Martin Castillo and was sent to prison for sexual assault. Morel has since rebuilt his life and has been on a tear, though it seems that he’s been overlooked even considering he’s 11-0 since his return to action in 2008. Morel (46-2, 23 KOs) is essentially running out of time in terms of age and the time is now if he’s to make one last great stand at becoming the legitimate world champion and one of the best of his generation.
Mares is in for a tough fight with the slick Morel, one of the better boxer/counter-punchers the sport has seen over the last decade or so. Mares will have to be wary of the older Morel’s gameplan because the Puerto Rican knows every trick in the book. Mares (23-0-1, 13KOs) has been fighting some stiff competition but his experience is virtually dwarfed by that of Morel.
In what should be an intriguing battle and one that will be the epitome of a cat-and-mouse game, the outcome could go a myriad of ways. Will Morel’s experience and savvy be too much for the somewhat green by comparison Mares? Or will the Mexican grab the spotlight and electrify the world with a performance that will solidify him as one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters? The only way to know for sure is to see how SecondsOut.com breaks down the fight. Read on:
Punching power: Neither Mares nor Morel has much in terms of explosives in their fists, so the likelihood that this battle will end with one of the combatants looking up at the lights is low. Still, that doesn’t mean that neither man knows how to punch. Morel only has 23KOs out of his 46 wins whereas Mares has just 13 out of 23 wins. More tactical, accumulative punchers than anything, neither pugilist has a real advantage over the other. Advantage: Push
Speed: When Morel was younger and undefeated, he dazzled his opponents with angles, footwork and blazing speed. He still has that speed, but he’s a step slower these days due to age. Still, Morel has some fast hands and throws blinding combos when needed. Mares is slightly smaller and throws his punches nice and straight and his flurries are blinding. Much like their power, this is a toss-up though the younger, naturally lighter fighter is typically a hair faster. Advantage: Mares
Size: Morel is naturally heavier and is taller than Mares by almost three full inches. He has a four-inch reach advantage and since he prefers to stick and move on the outside, his length could cause problems for the shorter Mares. If Mares can get just on the inside of Morel’s jabs and reach, that advantage will be nullified. Still, Mares has to get inside, which could be more difficult than imagined. Advantage: Morel
Age factor: Though Morel has yet to look real sluggish or old, he is 36 and considering the history of the smaller fighters burning out much faster than the heavier weights, this could spell doom for the Puerto Rican-American. Mares is ten years his junior and doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of wear and tear on his frame. More than anything else, this is one area where Mares should have the clear upper hand. Advantage: Mares
Chin: Both men have hit the deck at least once in their career, though neither has ever truly been in serious peril while in between the ropes. Morel has lost twice but those were due to decisions and not knockouts. Morel is slightly bigger and has fought more fighters with heavier hands than has Mares, though not by much. Considering that it’s unlikely one will be able to really hurt the other, this category is about as even as they come. Advantage: Push
Experience: Mares has been tackling some sturdy competition as of late. He’s locked horns with Joseph Agbeko (twice), Vic Darchinyan and Yohnny Perez. Conversely, Morel has taken on the likes of Castillo, Lorenzo Parra, Heriberto Ruiz , though the bulk of his greatest opponents came before he was sent to prison. The level of opposition is about the same, though Mares has been fighting the better guys much more recently. However, Morel literally has more than twice as many professional bouts under his belt. If anything, that gives him the edge. Advantage: Morel
Intangibles: Morel knows he can’t blow this bout if he’s to somehow become one of the elite again. He lost quite a bit of time and big opportunities while he was locked up and has to topple Mares if he’s to continue landing big-time fights against the best in the world. Mares is much younger and can afford a loss much more than can Morel. Still, he hasn’t tasted defeat yet and there is always pressure on a fighter to remain unbeaten every time out. Still, there should be more pressure on Morel considering how important a win is/how devastating a loss would be. Advantage: Mares
The bottom line: Mares might be a tad stronger and he might have just a little more pop to his punches, though those traits are miniscule and nearly indistinguishable. This is the first huge fight for Morel in seven years and it’ll be interesting to see how the old cat will perform. The crowd inside theDonHaskinsConvention Center inEl Paso,Texas will heavily be on Mares’ side, which should give him a slight boost. Neither fighter will be hurt and it’ll be an active chess match; don’t expect an all-out war filled with fireworks. Mares will use his angles better than Morel and will peck away at his opponent every round. By the time the championship rounds approach, Mares’ systematic delivery and tricky inside game will have him pulling away from Morel. When it’s all said and done, every round will have been close but Mares will have been better in most. The official scores will heavily favor Mares via unanimous decision, though the scores won’t indicate how close the fight really was. Bank on it.
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