When Abner Mares stopped Daniel Ponce de Leon in the ninth round of their excellent fight on the undercard of Mayweather vs. Guerrero, he made plenty of new fans. If you knew of Mares before the fight, it was most likely because of the Showtime bantamweight tournament from a couple of years ago.
In that tournament, he battled through stiff competition ranging from brawler Vic Darchinyan to the indefatigable boxer/puncher Joseph Agbeko.
He emerged victorious and forged ahead, fighting on Showtime and gradually rising up the ranks of boxing's best fighters. His relentless, attacking style is as pleasing on the eyes as Megan Fox in a bikini, and his affable personality and modesty are refreshing for a fighter.
So how does he go from undercard stalwart to pay-per-view headliner? It's a difficult road to cross. Very few fighters become big attractions, especially those in the smaller weight divisions. But it's not impossible.
Naseem Hamed kicked in the doors for the smaller guys, mostly by doing stuff like this. His antics led to guys like Manny Pacquiao getting noticed. Of course, Pacquiao took it to the ultimate level. Mares may never achieve that type of fame, but there's no doubt he can become a star.
He just needs to follow this blueprint to get there.