Abner Mares Steals the Show With TKO of Ponce De Leon


If you were to ask anyone what the most memorable bout on the Mayweather vs. Guerrero undercard was you’d be likely to hear resounding chants of “Mares versus Ponce De Leon”. In the co-main event of the May 4th card, Abner Mares (26-0-1, 14 knockouts) took on tough as nails Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-5, 35 knockouts) in a bout that marked Mares first fight at featherweight. Since its announcement, the match-up was an interesting one. Would Mares be able to perform with all of this added weight? How would he respond to a power puncher like Ponce De Leon? Mares managed to answer all of these questions and then some with a massive exclamation point.

In the opening round of the 12-round championship fight, Mares was quick to establish the pace. Coming up from the smaller weight-classes, people had already assumed that Mares would try to come out quick. The big surprise came with the fact that he chose to implement more of a boxer-puncher approach to picking POnde De Leon apart, rather than his trademark brawling style. This decision proved to be a significant one for Mares as he managed to mix up shots throughout the head and body of Ponce, all while managing to avoid his trademark overhand left. This led to a surprise knockdown of Ponce in the closing seconds of round two, as well as a swarming type attack from Mares as he sensed his opponent was hurt.

Mares was outright dominating the fight, but by the eighth round it was becoming obvious that the added weight may be starting to adversely affect him. As Mares began to slow, Ponce De Leon began finding his rhythm as he managed t find a home for those winging left hands. It was obvious that Ponce De Leon was keen on making up for lost ground, but in Round 9 Mares dropped Ponce De Leon once again. The hard knockdown completely changed the tempo of the fight as Mares found his second wind and surged the hurt Ponce, forcing the referee to step in and signal and end to the fight.

Although the stoppage was seen as controversial to some, Mares left no doubt that he indeed belongs in the featherweight division.