By Ryan Burton
On March 15th former two divison champions Juan Manuel Lopez and Daniel Ponce De Leon will face off in a crossroads battle at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Lopez was stopped by Mikey Garica in 4 rounds in his last fight while Ponce De Leon was stopped in his second to last fight which was against Abner Mares.
Juanma said that he has had a great camp and that he plans on boxing smartly against his Mexican opponent.
"Camp is going great. We are working hard and we are training intelligently because we know that Ponce De Leon is a dangerous and strong fighter. We have to be ready for him," Lopez explained.
The 30-year-old Lopez surprised many when he knocked out Ponce De Leon in the first round of their June, 2008 fight. Ponce De Leon jumped on Lopez quickly but the Puerto Rican stood his ground and dropped and badly hurt Ponce De Leon twice, prompting the referee to waive off the fight. Lopez said that their previous fight is a thing of the past and that the version of Ponce De Leon that he will face in the rematch is a much stronger fighter.
"I think that he is a better fighter now. We can't look back that fight. I am concentrating on winning this fight round by round. We have to fight intelligently if we are going to get the win. Looking at back at his last few fights you can see that he is a stronger fighter and we are training for the best Ponce De Leon," said Lopez.
The Caguas resident has had trouble making the featherweight limit the past few years but went back down to 126 pounds last June for the fight versus Garcia because of the opportunity to fight for a world title. He said that he feels much stronger at 130 pounds and that the difference will show when he steps in the ring.
"I feel a lot better. I don't belong at 126 anymore. I have a lot of problems making 126 but I actually got down to 126 very well versus Mikey. It is a lot of work to get down that low. I had to train just to make the weight. I am a lot stronger at 130 pounds," Juanma told BoxingScene.com.
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