Abner Mares def. Jonathan Oquendo - Unanimous Decision (96-94, 98-92, 98-92)
Abner Mares came into this fight with his back against the wall. After suffering a shocking upset loss against Jhonny Gonzalez last summer, Mares took close to a year off, changed camps, dealt with injury, and finally returned tonight badly in need of a win. Against Jonathan Oquendo, Mares got that win, but it may not have been the performance he wanted.
Throughout the 10 round fight, Mares demonstrated that he was the superior technical boxer, landing more shots and using better movement to avoid the punches of Oquendo. For his part, Oquendo seemed very focused on the big KO shot, and when that never came, he had little in the way of back up plan.
The biggest drama came in round 4 when an Oquendo punch opened up a nasty cut on the left eyelid of Mares. The cut was bloody and looked like it could potentially end the fight, but some great work by Mares's corner (including famed cutman Stitch Duran) closed the cut between the rounds. Oquendo failed to attack it again, and it became a non-factor, allowing Mares to regain control and keep the fight firmly in his hands through the closing bell.
Ultimately, Mares may be back in the W column, but after this tepid performance I am hard pressed to say that he is truly "back." His next fight - very possibly a rematch against Gonzalez - will be a telling one for his future as a major player in the boxing landscape.