GL: When did you make the decision to become a boxing manager? How did the signing of Misael Rodriguez happen? I had met Misael on the Mexican National team before they went to the Olympics, they came to my gym in LA and I helped him go to a tournament, the reason it lead to me becoming a manager was him and a few other boxers wanting my help. First it was advice, they were asking me about deals and stuff and then one guy said, 'hey, how about you just manage us?' Then the light-bulb came on and it hit me, why not? I know most of the people in the boxing industry and I'm also an active fighter myself, so I know all of the ins and outs. Not yet on the management side, but I will get there with experience. Misael just showed me great heart and spirit in the Olympics and that speaks a lot of a fighter. Certainly his boxing abilities, yes he has them, he's not the most talented fighter, but he definitely has the heart."
GL: He's a 22 year old fighter with an extensive amateur background, at what pace would you like to see him moved?
Abner Mares: "Like any up and coming fighter he didn't have the most fights at amateur so we're not going to move him like he was Lomachenko or Rigondeaux. He won't be fighting for a world title in his first five fights, we're going to pace ourselves with him, to make him the next big superstar in boxing. He's in the right division, he's the right height, he's got a good personality, he's a good looking kid and he's really likable."
GL: How many times would you like to see him fight this year?
AM: "I want to see him fight at least four times this year."
GL: When will he make his professional debut?
AM: "We don't have the exact date, but we know he's going to be fighting in early April. We're trying and hoping to make it happen here in Los Angeles. Thank God I got a good friend in Richard Schaefer, and obviously we're signed with Ringstar and I'm able to get the help and advice from Mr. Al Haymon as well. We definitely have a good team."
GL: When will your next fight take place?
AM: "We're trying to get that rematch against Leo Santa Cruz being that he doesn't want to take that Frampton trilogy to Belfast. We want the Leo rematch, so hopefully we can close that deal and make it happen mid-May or early June."
GL: Are there ongoing discussions for the rematch between you and Santa Cruz?
AM: "Not at the moment. Yes and no, we're lucky to have the same advisor in Mr. Al Haymon and when I told Al that I want that fight he said he was going to work on it. It shouldn't be that complicated, but at the end of the day he's a very smart man and he knows what should be next for both of us."
GL: So whether it's Leo or not the target date for your next fight is mid-May to June, correct?
AM: "That's correct."
GL: What made you decide to come back from such a long layoff against a fighter the caliber of Jesus Cuellar?
AM: "I think it was something for me to prove to myself that I still had something left in me. I wanted to prove to myself that I'm still capable to fight at that level and I think I proved that to myself and the people. I'm still ready and willing to face these top fighters."
GL: Why were you out of the ring for so long?
AM: "It wouldn't have been that long, but fights got cancelled. I was supposed to be on the undercard of that Thurman-Porter card in March, but that got cancelled. Then they moved it to June and I was still on it, but then some things happened in New York to where I wasn't able to fight, so it was just fights being cancelled that kept me out for so long."
GL: You've accomplished a great deal in boxing, you're a three division world champion, how much longer do you see yourself fighting?
AM: "To be honest to myself, to you and to everybody else, I see myself doing it another two and half or three years tops. I'm looking to fight two times in each year and make the biggest fights to make the most of it."
GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?
AM: "Abner Mares is back, I'm going to prove to myself that I am the best in this weight class. For Misael I'm going to make him a superstar, you just watch."