WBC junior featherweight titleholder Abner Mares is not contractually bound to Showtime, whose bantamweight tournament launched the 26-year-old Southern Californian into stardom, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
“There is no contract,” said Schaefer in responsne to comments by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum which suggested that Mares’ ties to Showtime might prevent a bout from being negotiated with WBO counterpart Nonito Donaire.
“Showtime has put a lot of money and effort into the bantamweights and the bantamweight tournament,” said Schaefer, who added “Showtime has been very, very good to Abner.”
Donaire (28-1, 18 knockouts) has an HBO-televised bout with IBF beltholder Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KOs) on July 7 at Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif. Donaire also has long-range plans to face former titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka, WBA counterpart Guillermo Rigondeaux and perhaps four-division titlewinner Jorge Arce, if not Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs).
Arum said “it’s not a question of Top Rank or Golden Boy” during a recent media conference call, adding that Mares has to “cut the apron strings and be willing to fight in this whole series of important fights on the premiere network, HBO, which is behind it and knows how great this division is.”
Mares is coming off a unanimous decision over former beltholder Eric Morel, which earned him the vacant WBC belt in April. Mares has fought 60 consecutive title fight rounds, having twice beaten ex-beltholder Joseph Agbeko, earned a decision over former titleholder Vic Darchinyan and battled to a draw with then-beltholder Yonnhy Perez.
“Two fights that we would like to have are Arce and Donaire,” said Frank Espinoza, Mares’ manager. “These are the fights that the fans want to see and we want the best fight out there.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org