Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will square off for a second time this coming June, with the WBA super featherweight and WBA featherweight titles on the line.
Earlier this week, the two met face-to-face for a press conference to promote the bout. The fight takes place June 9 on Showtime from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Santa Cruz (34-1-1) is coming off a pair of wins over Chris Avalos and Carl Frampton, with the Frampton win securing him the title. He knocked out Avalos in the eighth round last October.
“It was a really close fight the first time. Before the fight, I told him I would give him the rematch, just like I would have wanted if I lost. Now is the time and I think this fight is going to be even better than the first fight. Mares will be better with Robert Garcia. He has many champions and I’ve seen the improvement. That’s great motivation for me,” Santa Cruz. “I know he’s going to seek revenge, but I’m not going to let that happen. My dad is a smart man too and he always knows how to send me to the ring with the right style.
“When two Mexicans get in there, you know it’s going to be a war. I hope everyone comes out June 9 because it’s going to be a fight to remember.”
The lone loss for Santa Cruz came two fights after besting Maraes via majority decision when he lost to Frampton.
Mares (31-2-1) is also on a two-fight win streak, having topped Andres Gutierrez and Jesus Cuellar.
“This is going to be another great one. Leo Santa Cruz is a great person and a humble guy. You have to be the bad guy against Leo. I could talk about what I’m going to do in the ring, but my fists and my brain will do the work for me,” Mares said. “Once we get in the ring, you already know what it’s going to be. It was war from the first bell last time. Nothing could stop either of us. We pleased the fans and gave them a great night. This is going to be the same thing. We’re two young fighters, fighting for pride.
“The fight is here now and it’s official. I’m eager to get this win and get redemption. There were things I could have done that would have made the fight easier for myself. Once you get in there, I know we all have a plan, but once you hear the crowd, it can go out the window. I’m a warrior and that type of fighter who’s looking to get the win no matter what.”