Mexican Mares is a two-weight world champion following spells as IBF bantamweight champion and more recently as WBC super-bantamweight titlist.
The 27-year-old defeated Eric Morel for the WBC belt last April and retained it in November against Anselmo Moreno, but opted to vacate earlier this year in disappointment at missing out on a big unification at 122lbs with either WBA champ Guillermo Rigondeaux or WBO kingpin Nonito Donaire.
Rigondeaux and widespread pick for 2012 fighter of the year Donaire will clash a week before in New York City instead, but Mares now has his eyes on conquering a third weight class.
He will take his unbeaten 24-0-1 (13 KOs) record up against compatriot Ponce De Leon, who despite losing four pro bouts is more experienced and has a higher knockout ratio (44-4, 35 KOs).
Ponce De Leon was due to headline at NYC’s Apollo Theatre on Saturday against Jayson Velez, who was forced to cancel when he sustained an injury.
"Ponce De Leon versus Mares is signed, sealed and delivered," said Golden Boy boss Richard Schaefer, who promotes both fighters.
"That's a big-time fight. It's a big opportunity for Ponce De Leon to fight against one of the best young fighters in boxing and a great opportunity for Abner to move up to yet another weight class to challenge for the world title.
"I think it's one of those fights where you have no idea who is going to win and you know you will be on the edge of your seat."