By Marc Livitz from ringside: Abner Mares made his featherweight debut this evening in Las Vegas and he was out to impress the masses. His first fight in the division was for the WBC featherweight title which was held by Daniel Ponce de Leon. The night’s co-main event was a memorable one. Mares of Hawaiian Gardens, California (via Guadalajara, MX) handed Ponce de Leon of West Covina, California (vis Cuauhtemoc, MX) a loss in the first defense of his championship.
The two combatants seemed to be in full concentration mode in the opening round. Daniel Ponce de Leon appeared to be the physically stronger of the two, yet Mares showed high levels of aggression. Daniel connected with a left hook to the head of Mares just before the bell.
Abner used the ring much more in the second and he employed a steady left jab. Each fighter landed a few shots of their own. Mares connected with two consecutive right hooks. Ponce de Leon was knocked to the floor right as the click sounded to signal that there were ten seconds remaining in the round. A perfectly placed left hook by Mares found Daniel’s chin. Ponce de Leon rose to his feet as the round closed.
Abner went on the attack in the third but Daniel was waiting for him. They moved around the ring considerably more and Mares landed the more meaningful shots, although Ponce de Leon was answering. The difference was Mares’s jab, while Daniel seemed to lunge forward at times. The action continued in round four. Mares had Ponce de Leon on the ropes as he connected with multiple head shots, which prompted the Cuauhtemoc, Mexico fighter to hold up his gloves and beckon Abner to keep the punches coming. Mares continued to work hard and caught Daniel with his right hook again.
Ponce de Leon was more of a defensive fighter in the fifth and he looked to counter at times. He connected with a few single shots and Abner scored with a right/left combination to the body and head to end the period.
Abner landed a left hook to the head of his opponent about thirty seconds into the sixth round. He moved well and quickly escaped any extended periods of time in the corner. Daniel landed a hard left to the head of Mares before time expired. The second half of the bout had now begun and Ponce de Leon went on the attack as round seven commenced. What he found was that Mares would counter and move.