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Ponce De Leon Begins The Super Featherweight Hunt

by Cliff Rold

33-year old Mexican former 122 and 126 lb. titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon (45-5, 35 KO) of Huntington Park, California, scored a knockdown in round four en route to a unanimous shutout over ten rounds against 27-year old Joksan Hernandez (23-6-1, 15 KO) of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, on Saturday night at the Oasis Hotel in Cancun, Mexico.

De Leon came into the bout at the Jr. Lightweight limit of 130 lbs.  Hernandez weighed the same.  The referee was Florentino Lopez.

The fight started out slow, De Leon warming to the task more in the second as he began to load up with his typically hard blows.  The quicker hands of De Leon left Hernandez with little answer for his southpaw left.  Hernandez was relegated to mostly one-punch attempts, few of them landing.

The lone knockdown of the fight came on a flush right hook.  Hernandez never saw the punch coming and instantly off balance, his gloves balancing him on the canvas to keep his body up.  De Leon jumped in to follow up and Lopez separated the fighters to issue the mandatory eight count.  Landing with his head more than his fists, Hernandez bored forward after the count to show he intended to stay in the fight.

That didn’t change the flow of the fight going forward.  Loose tape on the glove of Hernandez brought a short pause at the start of the sixth, a respite from the steady stream of touching shots De Leon was multiplying on him all night.

Hernandez never quit but never figured out how to land anything significant as the fight wore on.  In the tenth, he had De Leon in the corner but the veteran slipped and slid away from him with ease, coasting into the bell and obvious points win.  The final tallies came in at 100-89 across the board.  

De Leon was making his first start since being stopped in May for the WBC belt at 126 lbs. by Abner Mares.  It was only the second stoppage loss of his career.  Mares has since lost that belt to the man De Leon won it from, Jhonny Gonzalez, via first round knockout. 

De Leon will certainly have an eye on the outcome of the Gonzalez-Mares rematch intended for early next year, should he opt to resume activity at Featherweight.  The WBC currently rates De Leon seventh at the higher 130 lbs.

In the televised opener, 18-year old Welterweight Robert Manzanarez  (25-1, 21 KO), 134 ½, of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, avenged a lone knockout loss in 2012 with a three round walkover of 32-year old Alejandro Barrera (22-16, 15 KO), 135 ¼, of Mexico City, Mexico.  The referee was Celestino Castro.  

Manzanrez, at 5’9, had an almost comical 5-inch edge in height that played an obvious advantage from the start. Manzanarez scored a knockdown in each round of the bout.  In the first, a left hook to the body caused a delayed reaction in Barrera before he folded to the canvas in pain.  The left hand did the trick again in the second, this time to the temple, Barrera again beating the count.

In the third, it was back to the body as a left hand landed right near the belly and Barrera went down to a knee.  He tried to rise in time but the referee waved the fight over at 2:19 of the third.  Manzanarez makes it four straight knockouts since his sixth-round loss to Barrera.  Given his youth, power, and size, Manzanarez cuts an intriguing figure to watch going forward.

Also Televised

Lightweight: Juan Pablo Sanchez (26-11, 12 KO) RTD5 Raul Hinojosa (11-3-1, 10 KO)

Welterweight: Emmanuel Medina (5-0, 4 KO) KO2 Maximiliano De La Cruz (1-2-1)

The card was broadcast on Fox Deportes, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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