By Jake Donovan
Come Saturday evening, all eyes will be on Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather for their blockbuster showdown at the MGM Grand.
Daniel Ponce de Leon had the stage all to himself Friday night, or so he made it seen. The former 122 lb. titlist was dominant in taking a wide points win over Eduard Lazcano in their Fox Deportes-televised main event at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Scores were 100-90 across the board for Ponce de Leon, who eyes a campaign at the super featherweight division.
The bout was unlike your garden variety Ponce de Leon showing. There were no knockdowns and it wasn’t until late in the fight did the threat of a stoppage even surface. Ponce de Leon offered a relatively tame showing, picking his shots and even offering movement to avoid incoming rather than employ face-first defense that had once upon a time served as his calling card.
Lazcano served as target practice for the first three rounds, but enjoyed his best moments of the fight in the fourth. A right hand had Ponce de Leon on his heels, but Lazcano failed to properly follow up to hurt his opponent any more so than was already the case.
Ponce de Leon quickly recovered and resumed control of the fight from the fifth round onward. Lazcano spent most of the second half of the fight backing up and employing earmuff defense. Ponce de Leon took advantage of his opponent’s lack of aggression, walking him down and throwing in combination upstairs.
If there was a bright side to Lazcano’s showing, it was that he showed a sturdy chin and a lot of courage. Neither attribute was enough to make an impression on the judges. Ponce de Leon sensed this, coasting down the stretch with potshots and in-and-out movement until the final bell.
The win makes it two straight after dropping back to back fights to Adrien Broner and Yuriorkis Gamboa in his 2011 campaign. Ponce de Leon improves overall to 43-4 (35KO).
A three-fight win streak comes to a close for Lazcano, who falls to 24-3 (11KO).
Ishe Smith overcame the politics of the sport, ending a forced 18-month hiatus with a fourth round knockout of Ayi Bruce in their televised co-feature. Smith (23-5, 11KO) was in complete control and had Bruce (21-7, 14KO) in serious trouble before referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight.
The official time was 2:10 of round four. Smith wins his second straight, though not after watching several bouts fall through. Chief among them was a planned April crossroads showdown with Kassim Ouma before the promoter pulled the plug on the show.
Jessica Rakoczy (32-3, 12KO) was far too much for Brittany Cruz (8-6-1, 1KO) to handle, scoring knockdowns in the third and fourth round before forcing the stoppage at 1:27 of round four.
With time to kill, 19-year old Daquan Arnett (3-0, 2KO) made his way to the broadcast. The Florida teen didn't disappoint, blasting out Jose Martell (2-2-1, 1KO) in the first round.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:@JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]