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Ponce De Leon Expects Furious Battle With Mares

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Daniel Ponce De Leon was given a gift when he was born on the twenty seventh day of July of 1980. Little did his parents now that baby Daniel was granted the gift of brutal punching power in his fists. Little did they know that De Leon would some day end up being an Olympian and a two division world champion with his fights being broadcast all over the world.

That was a lot to expect from a Tarahumara kid from the Chihuahuan Sierra of Mexico where it’s tough enough to survive, let alone thrive. By the time he started boxing as an amateur, De Leon was already dreaming of the bright lights. “These big fights and big moments are everything I’ve ever wished and prayed for since I was a kid,” said De Leon from his home in Los Angeles. “My thirteen year career as a pro has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication.”

De Leon (44-4, 35 KO’s), the WBC featherweight champion, is in the final phase of preparation for the upcoming defense of his title on May 4 against undefeated Abner Mares (25-0-1, 13 KO’s). Mares, who was a bantamweight and junior featherweight champion, is looking to add a third title to his resume. The bout is the co-main event to the highly anticipated Showtime Pay Per View broadcast of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero from Las Vegas, Nevada.

The elite matchup is reminiscent of fights like Carlos Zarate vs. Alfonso Zamora, the “battle of little giants” Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez and Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vazquez. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Mares is a stable-mate of De Leon. Both fighters are managed by astute L.A. businessman Frank Espinoza. De Leon admits it’s strange to fight Mares, who he’s always been friendly with.

“It was surprising when Frank called me with the fight,” he remembers. “I never thought I’d ever fight Abner. But when the fight was signed, I decided to look at it as a fight between two athletes who want to prove their superiority in the ring. It’s not personal, but it will be a fierce competition.”

Mares has a skill set that most fighters envy. He’s considered the technician in this battle, the one with the swift footwork and fast, accurate combinations. De Leon is the awkward boxer-puncher who is a nightmare to prepare for. After all, how do you prepare for punches coming from strange angles and De Leon’s unorthodox style? It’s not like there are many sparring partners who can emulate De Leon in the ring. Then there’s his concussion-causing punching power. He punches so hard that 35 of his 44 wins have been due to the power he exerts with his fists. Having had the chance to witness De Leon’s handiwork from front row several times, the story line has been consistent. His opponents start off well and eventually crumble mentally and then physically after enduring brutal punishment.

During one particular outing on January 21, 2012 against young up and comer Omar Estrella, you could feel the spirit of the Tijuana pugilist being broken with every violent punch De Leon landed. After a decent first round by Estrella, De Leon turned up the heat and by the sixth round, Estrella had enough. He remained on the floor battered and bruised. But Mares is a whole different story. Not only is he great technically, he’s physically and mentally one of the toughest in the sport. Mares’ last five wins have been against former world champions. As far as planning for Mares is concerned, De Leon aims to keep it simple.

“I’m going to put a lot of pressure on him and I’m going to use my experience to determine when I have to box and when I have to brawl,” he said. “I’ve fought a lot of great fighters in my career and I’ve learned my lessons well. I’m going to use all that knowledge to win.”

He’s confident Mares will walk away with a first loss on his record. “I expect Abner Mares to come prepared and focused. He’s a warrior who doesn’t back down and I don’t back down. This is going to be a fierce battle and I’m ready for it physically and mentally,” said De Leon. “May fourth will be a great night for me. It won’t be easy, but I look forward to victory.”

Don’t miss this one. You’d regret it.

On the web: A great preview of the Ponce De Leon Vs. Mares fight from Showtime:

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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