Lem Satterfield

Could Abner Mares sign with Al Haymon?

Three-division titlist Abner Mares said his contract with Frank Espinoza has ended; he still has a valid contract with Golden Boy Promotions but has not signed with powerful advisor, Al Haymon, contrary to what a recent report by Fighthype.com  indicated.

"I'm no longer with Frank Espinoza and my contract with him is done. It ended already on May 24. It's been five successful years with Frank but I have not signed with any other manager," said Mares. "I'm still with Golden Boy, so my contract is still good there. I'm their first home-grown champion from zero professional fights until now. I'm really pleased with them."

Espinoza could not be reached for immediate comment.

If Mares does sign with Haymon, his move would follow the footsteps of junior lightweight Rances Barthelemy, RING light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, IBF 140-pound titleholder Lamont Peterson, lightweight Anthony Peterson, former RING 175-pound champ Chad Dawson, former titleholders Amir Khan and Robert Guerrero and ex-welterweight beltholder Luis Collazo.

The recepient of the 2013 Cus D'Amato "Manager Of The Year" award by the Boxing Writers Association of America, Haymon's stable includes Floyd Mayweather Jr., Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi among many others.

In a transition from longtime cornerman Clemente Medina, Mares (26-1-1, 14 knockouts) will face Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) in his first fight under trainer Virgil Hunter on the Showtime Pay-Per-View undercard of the July 12 Saul Alvarez-Erislandy Lara main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Mares was last in action in August, when he lost his WBC featherweight title in a shocking first-round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez and later suffered a rib injury that scuttled his rematch with Gonzalez slated for February. Mares was similarly injured in June 2012, when rib damage led to the cancelation of a clash with bantamweight Christian Esquivel.

Mares was THE RING's number five-rated pound-for-pound fighter entering the bout with Gonzalez. He was floored twice by the Mexican veteran during the first defense of the belt he won in his 126-pound debut, a ninth-round stoppage of Daniel Ponce de Leon.

Ponce de Leon was the last man to defeat Gonzalez in an eighth-round technical decision in September 2012, ending Gonzalez's 12-fight winning streak which included 11 knockouts.

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