Photo: German Villasenor/Team Ponce De Leon
Having held the WBO Super bantamweight title from 2005 to 2008, then losing it and waiting four long years to capture his second world title could have come a lot sooner, but as the saying goes, better late(r) than ever, as Daniel “The Tarahumara Destroyer” Ponce De Leon 44-4 (35KOs) captured the WBC featherweight world title via technical decision over multiple time world champion Jhonny Gonzalez on Saturday night’s co-featured bout at the MGM Grand Arena.
“I wanted the fight to end by KO, but I’m thankful that it went the way it did anyway, I was ready for anything that came nonetheless,” Ponce De Leon said regarding the circumstances of the stoppage.
De Leon also fought through a bloody gash atop his head, pressing on and making it a fight, dropping Gonzalez as the fight went into the second accidental head butt which cause the effective stoppage to the world title contest.
“The cut didn’t bother me at all, I was fighting to win, I didn’t let it bother me, I ended up getting ten stitches, which were done in my room after the fight.”
A notorious gym rat, De Leon will be back within a few weeks and ready for action once more.
“The doctor told me that they will take them off in a week and I can start to exercise shortly thereafter, but first I’m gonna take a little rest, as I was a hard camp getting ready for this fight.”
But first, De Leon will take a little trip to Mexico to get some official business done.
“I will be going to Mexico along with my Manager Frank Espinoza to receive my WBC Featherweight belt from Mr. Sulaiman, and take part of a press conference down there also.”
Gonzalez, a power puncher in his own right couldn’t hurt De Leon’s will, as the latter knew the stakes were high.
“There really wasn’t any single punch which hurt me, or bothered me, I did feel some of them, but I did my fight, I was going forward, throwing punches, a lot of punches, and I know people say I was landing as many as I wanted to, but the ones that did, did heavy damage, I know that if the fight hadn’t been stopped, I was gonna take Jhonny out, he was already wearing down badly.
“Hit him in the head, to the body, it doesn’t matter, he was going down, I had the title within my grasp and I wasn’t about to let it slip away, and didn’t, I had already dropped him through the ropes in the sixth round.”
De Leon has begun to plan his next fight already.
“Maybe the next fight will take place in Mexico, I would really love in if it was in Chihuahua, my home state, or elsewhere, that is something that has to be talked over with my management and my promoter.”
“I will like to thank all of my fans, the long wait, was well worth it as I’m world champion once again.”
De Leon’s management, comprised of Frank Espinoza and Frankie Espinoza Jr, shared their thought’s on their charge’s future plans and about the fight.
“We though Jhonny was gonna come out stronger, with Ponce countering and slowly breaking him down for a stoppage. The way it happened, well, the cut made it a technical win for Ponce, and we are very happy that he was doing more than enough to get those early points under his belt, as that lead to the win,” Frank Espinoza said.
A rematch clause, put into the contract by Gonzalez will be enforced as the former champion stated were his wishes at the post fight press conference last Saturday night, which is all fine and good with Team De Leon.
“There is the rematch clause, and we will respect it, although it is within a year, and we can take in-between fight(s), that is something that we will talk it over with Ponce and Golden Boy,” said Espinoza.
“I’m really proud that we got to be with Ponce and gotten him his second world title, as before he came with us, he was kinda under the radar, not really going anywhere, he was sedentary almost, but now, he is a world champion again, and we will fight Jhonny wherever he along with the promoters want to stage the fight, be it in Mexico or wherever.
“I really think that if it hadn’t been for the accidental head butt, Ponce would have knocked out Jhonny later on in the fight, he knows about Ponce’s power, and we also respected what Jhonny brought to the table, but definitely, Ponce would have taken him out later on in the fight.”
Those same sentiments were echoed and added to by Frankie Espinoza. “I think he was cautious because of Ponce’s power and that he has been knocked out a couple of times before, I think Jhonny looked frustrated, specially after the knock down, he just didn’t seemed hungry enough after that, he knew he was in big trouble.”
“I think if it hadn’t been for the head butt, he would been knocked otherwise”
“You know we are very happy and proud of Ponce, everyone thought he was gonna come out like a wild man, but he proved he could be effective in a technical way.”
With the bloody cut running down on Ponce’s face, was there any pressure for De Leon to step up the pressure as he was challenging for the belt?
“Not really, we weren’t too preoccupied, he was calm under under fire and although there was a lot of blood, it was coming down the side of his face and not going into his eyes.
Able to fight before the Gonzalez rematch, how soon will the new WBC Featherweight champ get back into the ring?
“First and foremost we gotta wait for the cut to heal, and we have to discuss it as a team.” concluded Frankie Espinoza.