Los Angeles featherweight rivals Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will renew hostilities when they meet in a rematch made official on Monday.
Santa Cruz will defend his world title against secondary titlist (and mandatory challenger) Mares on June 9 in a Showtime-televised main event at Staples Center in Los Angeles, promoters Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports and Tom Brown of TGB Promotions announced.
On Aug. 29, 2015, at Staples Center and live on ESPN, Santa Cruz won a vacant featherweight world title by majority decision -- 117-111, 117-111 and 114-114 -- over fellow Mexico native Mares in an action-packed fight billed as a battle for Los Angeles bragging rights.
"This is a fight that fans have been clamoring for and a fight that is certain to deliver action and drama," Schaefer said. "This is once again a true battle for Los Angeles, with only one man able to walk out of Staples Center with that crown as the best in the city."
Mares expressed interest in having a rematch as soon as the 2015 fight ended, and Santa Cruz always said he would give him one. However, the fight has been delayed for various reasons. It appeared as though the rematch would happen last fall, but instead, Santa Cruz elected to put the fight off for one more bout. He and Mares fought on the same card on Oct. 14 and each won, finally setting up the sequel.
"Since their first match both Leo and Abner have gone on to solidify their positions at the top of the featherweight division, making a second meeting between them even more compelling," Brown said. "The winner will definitely become the man sitting at the top of a very competitive 126-pound division.''
The 29-year-old Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs), who also has won world titles at bantamweight and junior featherweight, will be making the second defense of his second featherweight title reign.
"The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better," Santa Cruz said. "I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and (new trainer) Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we're also smart and I have a strong team that will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight once again for the boxing fans in Los Angeles."
The 32-year-old Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs), who has also won world titles at bantamweight and junior featherweight, has fought just twice since the first bout with Santa Cruz, winning both, including the secondary title that he has defended once.
"It's been over two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I've been thinking about is redemption," Mares said. "Now that I'm with Robert Garcia and his team, you've seen the change. If they think I'm going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise."