On Saturday night at El Paso, TX's Don Haskins Center, Abner Mares punched his way into the super bantam ranks with a strong performance against veteran Eric Morel, capturing the vacant WBC belt.
Having left the bantamweight ranks, where he had held the IBF, IBO and WBC Silver crowns, Mares faced a sharp operator in Morel, who had previously held the WBA flyweight title.
But at age 36, Morel no longer had the speed to contend with the youth and strength of 26 year old Mares, who started off with a punishing body assault that had Morel looking for answers.
As the rounds wore on it was obvious that Mares couldn't be stopped despite Morel's best efforts but the former world champ showed a lot of toughness and even managed to mount a spirited attempt to turn things around in the championship frames.
After 12 rounds were completed, Mares walked away with the WBC title on scores of 120-107, 119-109, 119-109, improving to 24-0-1 (13); Morel loses only for the third time in a long career, standing now at 46-3 (23).
On the undercard, WBA bantam supremo Anselmo Moreno also used a searing body attack to spearhead his offensive against challenger David De La Mora.
Moreno continued his run of success at 118 pounds, posting his 27th straight win by flooring the far less experienced De La Mora in the second and sixth stanzas before halting the challenger at 0:10 of the ninth.
The Panamanian southpaw sees his record to 33-1-1 (12), retaining his WBA trophy for the 10th time while De La Mora, 24-2 (17), loses his second world title shot in as many tries.