By Miguel Maravilla
Photo: Pepe Rodriguez
WBC featherweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) has begun preparation for his May 4 showdown against former bantamweight and super bantamweight champion Abner Mares (25-0-1, 13 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I never thought I would fight against Abner,” Ponce de Leon told Fightnews.com. “His trainer Clemente Medina has been here a few times to watch me train and Abner has been here also to train. However the fight is on and like I said I never thought I would fight him. I’m ready. I’ve begun to train once again. I was training for another fight but we stopped and now we are back at it beginning preparations.”
Ponce de Leon was originally scheduled to fight March 2 against Jayson Velez of Puerto Rico in Velez territory at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. Unfortunately an injury to Velez, the fight was called off and that left the Mexican fighter with no opponent up until a few weeks ago once the fight with Abner Mares was made.
“Well that fight never took place. Supposedly he had injured himself but that’s in the past now I am ready for my next fight with Abner.”
“I think I made a mistake by letting various people come in here and record me. They were able to post how I looked on Facebook, Twitter. The Velez camp probably saw how I looked and decided to back down but there goes his opportunity,” Ponce de Leon stated.
The Tarahumara warrior will be making the first defense of his WBC title he won from Jhonny Gonzalez last September by an eighth round technical decision. In that fight Ponce de Leon scored a knockdown in the sixth round, two rounds later a clash of heads opened a cut on Gonzalez’ right eye and they went to the scorecards where Ponce De Leon took the decision. Now the former 2000 Mexican Olympian Daniel Ponce de Leon from Cuahtemoc Chihuahua, Mexico will take on another former 2004 Mexican Olympian from Hawaiian Garden’s by way of Guadalajara, Mexico Abner Mares.
“I noticed there were challenges from Abner, therefore Golden Boy and my manager came to an agreement. We have the same promoter and manager so we made the fight.”
Ponce de Leon vs. Mares will be the co-main event to Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas live on Showtime. The fight will be taking place May 4 on Cinco de Mayo weekend, a Mexican holiday which has had major boxing events over the last decade from the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather. This fight will pit two former Mexican Olympians and warriors which has potential to steal the show.
“It feels great to fight on this weekend. Last year and in previous years I fought on Cinco de Mayo weekend. I have also fought on Mexican Independence weekends the last two years,” Ponce de Leon said. “Expect a good fight between two Mexican fighters you will see me win.”
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