Abner Mares' return, Jermall Charlo-Julian Williams title fight Dec. 10 at Galen Center

Abner Mares' return, Jermall Charlo-Julian Williams title fight Dec. 10 at Galen Center
Abner Mares, right, fights Leo Santa Cruz on Aug. 29, 2015. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

A doubleheader of tossup title fights is coming to USC's Galen Center on Dec. 10, promoter Richard Schaefer announced Thursday.

Former three-division-champion Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens will seek to regain a featherweight belt when he meets Argentina's World Boxing Assn. champion Jesus Cuellar of Argentina in the main event, and unbeaten International Boxing Federation super-welterweight champion Jermall Charlo of Houston will make his third title defense in against Philadelphia's undefeated Julian Williams.


Showtime will televise the card, which marks the return of Schaefer to fight promotion following his 2014 exit from his prior position as Golden Boy Promotions CEO, which resulted in a legal settlement that mandated a temporary hiatus from fight promotion.

Schaefer's Ringstar Sports will promote the Premier Boxing Champions card, which counts fighters managed by Schaefer's close associate, manager Al Haymon, who also took several of his fighters from Golden Boy in a related split.

TGB Promotions in Sherman Oaks is co-promoting the card.

"To do my first event from Galen Center is very meaningful because while I've been out, I've sent my two boys to USC, and these are the kinds of events I like to put together – two 50/50 fights in which the best fight the best," Schaefer told The Times.

Charlo, whose twin brother, Jermell, is the WBC super-welterweight champion, successfully defended his belt most recently in May, defeating former champion Austin Trout by unanimous decision.

In Williams, who attended that fight, Charlo meets a respected young talent who's won by knockout in seven of his past nine bouts.

Mares, meanwhile, received clearance this week from the California State Athletic Commission following a battery of medical tests, including a vision screening, that will allow him to fight after the New York State Athletic Commission earlier this year scrapped his fight against Cuellar on June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Mares (28-2-1, 15 knockouts) has suffered a detached retina and previously underwent lasik procedure on his right eye, prompting the New York ban that forbids fighters from competing if they've previously undergone eye surgery.

Although the quality of Mares' vision is the source of great debate, California has cleared him.

Mares last fought in August 2015 at Staples Center, losing a majority decision to Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA "super" featherweight belt. Cuellar wears the secondary WBA "world" featherweight belt.

In an interview with The Times in August, Mares said those concerned for him shouldn't compare his case to that of former champion Israel Vazquez, who is in danger of losing his eye at age 38.

Vazquez "has said he didn't take care of the problems he had over [multiple] surgeries" in both eyes, Mares said. "I've only had one surgery done. And if I've ever felt anything since, I always go to the doctor. I get myself checked, even in sparring, from pink-eye or red-eye from a glove. I'm strict.

"I had a detached retina in 2008. I had one surgery and I was able to fight once again – for the seven years since then. No trouble whatsoever."

"It was sad [New York] wouldn't give me the clearance other states had – here, in Las Vegas, Chicago. It's a bump in the road, but I'm still training and sparring and there are still people to fight."


While Mares is trained by Cuellar's former corner man, Robert Garcia, Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) now has seven-time trainer of the year Freddie Roach of Hollywood's Wild Card Boxing Club in his corner.