For serious fans, this is a big-time showdown between two highly-regarded fighters who are at or near pound-for-pound top 10 status on a lot of people's lists. The odds for this fight are dead even right now.
Mares is the WBC super bantamweight champion. He beat the talented veteran Eric Morel by near shut out UD in April and did the same against Joseph Abeko last December, a rematch of his controversial majority decision win over Abeko in August 2011.
Mares is a young fighter (26) who has shown steady improvement in each of his fights over the past couple of years. A lot fans view Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOS) versus Nonito Donaire as the top super fight at 122.
Moreno, meanwhile, has been just as hot recently, though against a somewhat less impressive array of opponents. Still, the common opponent between the two is former world champion VIc Darchinyan, a fight that Moreno won by wider margin.
This is a fight that I see going to the cards. Mares will look to attack Moreno's body early. He excels at tenderizing opponents' ribs and sapping their energy round after round. He is a volume puncher but accurate, and his ability to put together multi-punch combinations attacking both the head and body makes him extremely dangerous for anybody who gets into middle and close range against him.
At the same time, Moreno is a difficult puzzle for anybody to solve. He has great agility and unorthodox footwork, which can make for a very elusive target.
It's important to note that Moreno is a southpaw and he is very good at sneaking his lead foot outside of an orthodox opponent, allowing him to surprise them with jolting overhand lefts straight down the pike. One of Mares' two toughest fights was against southpaw Vic Darchinyan.
But that was nearly two years ago. Mares is trained by the legendary Hall of Famer Nacho Beristain, so his steady progress is expected and has so far been evident.
This will be Mares' toughest fight yet, and very close for the first seven or eight rounds. I expect that by the last third of the fight, Mares' bodywork will have successfully worn Moreno down enough to pull away on the cards.
I expect Moreno to push Mares, but Mares will elevate his game under pressure.
But there's a reason this fight is dead even. The smart money is justifiably split.
Mares has, at times, struggled against fighters who are probably not as talented as Moreno.