By Mick Akers
As junior featherweight titlist Abner Mares heads into arguably the toughest fight of his 25-fight career against Anselmo Moreno Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif, he has made some changes in his training regimen that have morphed his body mass.
Adding crossfit and sand work drills to his training regime in addition to opting for a high-carb diet as opposed to a high-protein diet, Mares has seen more muscle added to his body.
As mentioned by Mares himself, it is a touchy area for a fighter in the lower weight classes that depend on their speed to give them an advantage in the ring, adding more muscle can sometimes hamper one’s speed, creating a negative effect in the ring.
Watching to see if Mares is affected by this change at all in his bout with Moreno will be one of the main focus points for not only the boxing world tuning into the fight, but also Moreno’s corner.
If Mares is slowed by his new-found muscle, the defensive-styled Moreno will have the opportunity to land more counter-punches on Mares. If this were to occur the judges could lean towards Moreno in a decision if the fight lasts the full 12 rounds.
If the new muscle on Mares proves to have no effect on Mares’ speed, then we could very well see an early stoppage to the bout, as Mares has some decent knockout power and adding more power behind his punches will only up the chance of a KO Saturday night.
Mares is on a five-fight decision streak and has not knocked out an opponent since his Round 5 stoppage of Felipe Almanza in March of 2010. If the newly added muscle gives Mares’ power any kind of boost, we could very well see his over two-year streak of decisions come to an end.
Another factor to look at in this fight is how Moreno looks in his first fight in the junior featherweight division, as he has fought the majority of his career at the bantamweight limit of 118 pounds. If the jump to 122 pounds proves to be a big change for Moreno, then he could be in for a long—or short depending on Mares’ speed—night on Saturday.