Photo: German Villasenor/Team Ponce De Leon
Never in a dull fight, “The Tarahumara Destroyer” Daniel Ponce De Leon will finally get a long-wished for second crack at a world title this Saturday night, as featured bout of the SHOWTIME-televised blockbuster emanating from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The hard-hitting Ponce De Leon 43-4 (35KOs) an under rated boxer with fulminating power in his left hand will take on reigning WBC Featherweight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez in a fight which De Leon has pursued for the last couple of years.
In Gonzalez, De Leon takes on a taller, lankier power puncher with good technique and a time champion who last tasted defeat against Toshiaki Noshioka back in 2009 and has since reeled eleven Ko’s in his last twelve bouts, including a fourth round TKO over Tomas Villa for the WBC 126 lb. belt in July of last year.
No easy task as Gonzalez is a three-time world champion, something to be respected, but with less than two weeks to go, De Leon and his management, Frank “Derecho” Espinoza and Frankie Espinoza Jr. feel more that confident that, De Leon, a long-time former WBO Super Bantamweight world champion will defeat Gonzalez this Saturday night.
High up in Big Bear, De Leon speaks about his training camp.
“I’m feeling very good, finishing the hard work with my team, I feel excellent with my conditioning, being up here in the mountain has given me more speed I feel.”
Usually De Leon has made Los Angeles his training grounds, choosing to go up to the mountains due to a series of circumstances, including the fact that his Trainer Ramon “Yuquita” Morales is doing double-duty on Saturday night, as he is also on Jesus Soto-Karass’ corner, who takes on Marcos Maidana in a welterweight rumble.
“It really has helped, (going up to the mountains) I feel like I have been training down there, (L.A.) in the sense that the thin air didn’t affect me negatively, I have been breathing very well all along, so I know that when I’m down there I will be even better than here.”
“I have boxed upwards of a hundred rounds, twenty-four per week, the 12 round tests. This past Monday we went another twelve rounds, all we need to do this week is work on the weight, which should be no problem as I’m only five lbs. over the contracted weight at the moment.”
“My team has been great, my management team comprised of Frank Espinoza and Frankie Espinoza jr., my trainer “Yuquita” (Ramon Morales), Sergio Nunez, Joel Diaz, everyone has been very good, all of them working together to getme ready for the fight.”
Seeking a fight against Gonzalez has been a long term challenge, something which has finally come to fruition.
“I think Jhonny will be coming in very well prepared, because he has to know that I’m coming in strong, because I’m very strong, I’m ready and have what it takes to beat him, I’m ready for anything, ready to go all-out.”
“I think there will be a KO, although I’m ready to go for a decision of course, I’m ready for a grueling long fight, but I will be coming after Jhonny from the beginning of the fight.” De Leon continued.
“I want to be world champion once more, I have been looking for this fight for a long time and I won’t waste this second shot, I don’t want it to be a last chance at the title sort of thing. I have faith in my abilities, I will be world champion once again.” De Leon stated as a matter of fact.
“I want to thank all of my fans for their support throughout my career, I really thank them. I promise to give them a great battle on Saturday night. Tune in to SHOWTIME and watch me capture the world title again.”- De Leon concluded.
Frank Espinoza, who took reigns of De Leon career a couple of fights back, had plenty to say regarding his newest charge.
“Ponce is very focused, determined, he has been up in Big Bear for a couple of months now, and his conditioning is incredible.”
“Later on this week, Ponce is just going down to pick up some of his things and leaving right away to Vegas, the short lay-off shouldn’t affect his air, and with Vegas being at a higher altitude (than L.A.) his conditioning that he has gained should be there as he goes into the fight.”
“His preparation has been great, really good camp nothing is out of place, I don’t see this fight going the distance, not taking nothing away from Jhonny, he is a good boxer, taller and can punch, but we know that he has trouble with southpaws, and Ponce is definitely a dangerous one that can punch, his chin is shaky and we have been working with Ponce to stay away from the ropes, set the pace from the start and work him over. This fight ends with a knockout and Ponce is walking away from the belt with the world title.”
No stranger to being in world champion’s corner’s and camps, Espinoza’s son, Frankie Espinoza concurs with his father.
” Ponce is a great guy, very family oriented, but very focused in his career, he is never out of shape, letting himself blow up between fights, as far as dealing with him on a business level, he is very easy to work with, he is always ready to go, focuses on training right away, usually doesn’t stay away from the gym, so that makes everything easier.”
“Being a great guy, all goes out the window once he steps in the ring though.”
“He is ready to go, in great shape, his conditioning is excellent, the sparring he has had it’s been great, he is ready for anything that Jhonny might come in with.”
Frankie knows exactly how De Leon, whom he has watched, since before joining them, can attest to how much De Leon has been looking forward to this fight.
“Once he signed with us, a couple of fights back, his focus was on Gonzalez, he has had his eye on him for a long time, asking to stay busy is the extent of his requests, fortunately we finally were able to get him the Gonzalez fight, it’s an opportunity that Ponce is not gonna waste.”
“Ponce is a pressure fighter, he will be working Jhonny as long as the fights lasts, with his determination and punching power he will defeat him this Saturday night.”
The WBC Featherweight World title fight featuring Ponce De Leon Vs. Jhonny Gonzalez is part of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Vs. Josesito Lopez WBC Superwelter weight clash, with another great fight in Jesus-Soto Karass clashing horns with the dangerous KO artist, Carlos “Chino” Maidana.