Abner Mares celebrates following his defeat. Photo by Jeff Gross
Unbeaten Abner Mares won a 12-round unanimous decision over Eric Morel on Saturday in a battle of former champions for the vacant World Boxing Council super bantamweight world title.
Mares, 26, moved up in weight after capturing the International Boxing Federation bantamweight crown with a victory over Joseph Agbeko last August -- a title he retained in a rematch in December.
His speed and work rate wore down Puerto Rico's Morel, a 36-year-old who once held the World Boxing Association super flyweight title.
Two ringside judges scored the bout 119-109 for Mares, while the third saw it 120-107 for the Mexican, who improved to 24-0-1 with 13 knockouts. Morel fell to 46-3, with 23 knockouts.
They were fighting for title vacated by Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka after he could not get a fight with Filipino star Nonito Donaire.
On the undercard, WBA bantamweight "super champion" Anselmo Moreno of Panama made the 10th successful defence of his title as he stopped David de la Mora in the the ninth round of a lopsided bout.
Moreno improved to 33-1-1 with 12 knockouts.
He sent de la Mora to the canvas in the second and sixth rounds and the challenger indicated he could not continue 10 seconds into the ninth and the referee stopped the fight.
Mexico's de la Mora dropped to 24-2 with 17 knockouts. -Sapa