Four-time world champion Abner Mares, along with trainer Robert Garcia, hosted a media workout at their training camp in Riverside, California Wednesday ahead of the featherweight world title rematch against Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday, June 9 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Showtime Championship Boxing televised card will also feature unbeaten super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo taking on former world champion Austin Trout in the co-main event.
Mares and Garcia put media through a workout of their own before Mares stepped into the ring to show off his skills. Below is what Mares and Garcia had to say Tuesday from the Robert Garcia Gym:
"I feel great right now. I’m strong and in really good spirits. I feel like I’m going to be peaking at the right time. I’m on weight and on track for fight night.
"I have to be a poised and relaxed Abner Mares on June 9. I can’t go in with the same exact mentality as last time and try to knock Leo’s head off. I have power, but I’m not a one-punch knockout artist.
"I trained well for the first fight but I got tired toward the end of the fight. I got desperate and frustrated at times and it took a toll on my body. Now we’re here and I’m happy to have my chance at redemption.
"I’m confident because I have such an experienced trainer in my corner. I’m just trying to be the student to his master teachings and absorb everything he tells me. I’m always asking him to push me and tell me when he needs more from me.
"The difference between our fight in 2015 and now is that I’m a more mature and seasoned fighter. I’ve been in this sport a long time, and now with having Robert Garcia in my corner, he’s really helped my mental game and given me great guidance.
"There’s no doubt that Leo and myself will both train hard and be ready physically for fight night. This fight won’t be about physical strength, it’s going to be about the mental tools we have and the ability that we both have to adjust during the fight.
"We knew last time and we know going into this fight that Leo is a volume puncher. He comes forward and tries to tire you out. But I know that he’s also a vulnerable fighter and I just have to take advantage of it this time.
"There’s nothing to say right now, the talking between me and Leo is going to take place in the ring on June 9. I would just tell him to be ready for the best Abner Mares."
ROBERT GARCIA, Mares’ Trainer
"This is probably the biggest fight of Abner’s career and the biggest since me and Abner have teamed up together. This is a fight that Abner wanted very badly and as his trainer, I want this win badly.
"We know that this isn’t going to be an easy fight. But the way that Abner has been training and the way that he follows instructions, it’s going to make a big difference in his performance June 9 compared to the first fight.
"I was at the first fight and I thought that Abner looked for big single punches too much and fought too rough of a fight. He made it harder on himself. It was still a very close fight despite that.
"With a little more speed and by fighting smart going in and out, Abner could make a huge leap in his performance this time out. We know we have to look to throw combinations and break Leo down.
"We’ve been getting sparring partners that are a little taller and throw a lot of punches and the results have been great. Abner just has to be in shape to 12 rounds, because Leo is a fighter that finishes as strong as he starts. We can’t perform for eight rounds and then tire out because there’s a chance Leo comes on strong and puts us in trouble."