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Mares vs. Agbeko set for Saturday

Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko pose at final

Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko pose at final press conference. November 30, 2011. Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Lost amongst all the talk about Saturday’s bout between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito bout and a possible super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is the Abner Mares-Joseph Agbeko Bantamweight championship rematch.

Mares (22-0-1, 13 KOs), who will defend his IBF and WBC Silver Bantamweight titles against Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) on Saturday, scored what many perceived a controversial decision when the two met on August 13.

The Agbeko camp was adamant Mares got away with several low blows, including a controversial knockdown in the 11th round. Referee Russell Mora was roundly scrutinized for not taking a point away from Mares, despite several warnings for low blows. As a result, the IBF ordered a rematch.

“I feel I did my job last time, but I know I need to perform at my best and win again,” said Mares. “Agbeko thinks he should have won and has trained hard and is here to win. He’ll be bringing everything’s he’s got, so I feel we are both coming in with something to prove.”

Although grateful for the rematch, Agbeko said he’s only focused at the task at hand. But that didn’t stop him from sending a subtle method to the referee.

“I want to thank everyone involved, including the IBF which mandated that we fight again,” he said. “I’ve put the first fight behind me. It is in the past and gone. My focus right now and in recent weeks of training is on Saturday and regaining my title. I expect the referee to do his job.”

Agbeko’s statements were tame compared to what his promoter Don King told reporters.

“Everybody who saw the first fight knows the low blows sustained by Agbeko by Mares sent the IBF world title to Mares by robbery,” said King. “I am just glad that the head of the CSAC, George Dodd, has guaranteed that the rematch will be officiated fairly, and I trust it will.”

In the main undercard, Anselmo Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KOs) will defend his WBA Bantamweight Super Championship against Vic Dachinyan (37-3-1, 27 KOs). Both will be aired on Showtime from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Ca. beginning at 9 p.m.

New York Sports