Inactive for almost a year, former three-division champion Abner Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) boxed his way to a 10-round unanimous decision over Jonathon Oquendo (24-4, 16 KOs) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The scores were 96-94, 98-92, 98-92.
Mares, 28, set the pace immediately in the opening rounds. He jabbed and connected with rights and lefts.
Oquendo landed a solid hook to the body. He was anxious to check the chin of Mares, which failed the former champion in his last bout--a first round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzales.
Mares, working with trainer Virgil Hunter for the first time, wanted to keep the fight on the outside. He used the ring to move laterally. Mares stayed on the inside long enough to land some hooks to the body in round four. Oquendo connected with a right uppercut that cut Mares on his left eyelid.
In rounds five and six, Mares went back to boxing. Oquendo moved forward looking for a big punch that would end the fight. Mares kept boxing. He outworked Oquendo. A clubbing right hand landed.
Mares did well in round seven. The cut near his left eye, that looked at first like it might change the outcome of the fight, was not a factor. His corner had done a great job repairing the cut. Oquendo wasn’t letting his hands go enough. Mares was quicker and more effective in rounds eight and nine.
Oquendo, 30, aware that he was behind heading into the last round, tried to make something happen. Mares smothered his shots and backed away.
“I want to take a moment to thank my fans,” said Mares after the fight. “I was a little rusty, but I got the win.”