When it was first announced that WBC Featherweight Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon would defend his title against not only promotional stablemate, but managerial stablemate Abner Mares on the big Mayweather-Guerrero PPV event, it was met with both excitement and question. Not necessarily because of their promoter(Golden Boy Promotions) being the same, but moreover, because they share the same manager in Frank Espinoza(Espinoza Boxing).
In boxing it is not always commonplace for a promotional or managerial entity to match some of their best fighters against each other. However, the two fighters, both guided by Espinoza Boxing, are set on not only separating their own friendship outside of the ring for the fight, but have openly welcomed whatever war may come on May 4th inside of the squared circle.
De Leon(44-4, 35 KO’s), will be defending his WBC Featherweight Title which he won by beating Jhonny Gonzalez by technical decision in eight rounds in mid September of last year and has not lost since 2011. Meanwhile, the undefeated former world champion Mares(25-0-1, 13 KO’s), is moving up to featherweight for the first time in his career and stepping right into the lion’s den to face De Leon, who is the naturally bigger fighter of the two. Mares will have a 5 year age advantage and has faced top opposition throughout his career. De Leon is the slightly more experienced fighter who boxes out of the southpaw stance. The big questions in this match-up are how Mares will do at the new weight class, coupled with how he will handle the shots from a bigger fighter and equally – if Mares’ power will be carried over into the new 126-pound frame. De Leon has shown he has transitioned into more of a boxer now, however, it is my opinion that he should come out and test Mares’ chin and and body early on in the fight. Mares’ game-plan might be to start off a bit slowly to feel out De Leon’s power, and try to get on the inside with combinations as De Leon possesses a 4” reach advantage over Mares. I believe that the first few rounds will go in the favor of De Leon, but Mares has shown he will do whatever he has to do to win and will go for broke if need be, therefore, I see a full-blown war breaking out after about 4 rounds or so. The only person I wouldn’t want to be when the drama unfolds is Mr. Espinoza, who I’m sure will be in for a roller coaster ride of emotions while his two pugilists trade violent leather in what is scheduled for a 12-round fight.
All in all – I believe this fight has all the makings on and off paper that can make this one of, if not the best fights of the Mayweather-Guerrero card come Saturday night, and if we’re that lucky, it could quite possibly be a FOTY candidate. In closing, the sound of that first bell couldn’t come any sooner as both of these warriors are ready to come out victorious and make their Mexican countrymen proud on this Cinco De Mayo weekend.