Back in 2015, Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz engaged in a 12-round battle that featured over 2,000 punches being thrown.
In the end, Cruz was declared the winner over Mares.
Three years later, the two will square off for a second time on June 9 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Shwotime for the WBA super featherweight title.
Mares (31-2-1) has scored two consecutive wins since that loss to Cruz, besting Jesus Cuellar for the WBA featherweight title and defending that belt last October vs. Andres Gutierrez.
“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,” Mares said. “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.”
The rematch between Mares and Cruz will take place inside the very same building as the first encounter. Mares has earned 15 knockouts during his career.
“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,” Mares said. “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.”
The June card also features Jermell Charlo defending his super welterweight crown vs. Austin Trout.