The WBC Featherweight Championship was scheduled for 12 rounds. Abner Mares only needed nine of them.
Daniel Ponce de Leon and Abner Mares put on quite a show during the main undercard bout preceding Mayweather vs. Guerrero, and on any other card, it would most likely come out as fight of the night.
The fight was close throughout, especially during the first few rounds. Ponce de Leon landed a few of his power lefts but wasn't able to connect with anything too devastating. Meanwhile Mares, the challenger, did a fantastic job of countering with shots to the body and carefully picking his shots. Both men were evenly matched, especially in the first round, landing 15 power punches apiece.
The second round was more of the same until the last few seconds. With five seconds remaining in the round, Ponce de Leon was knocked off his feet by a big power combo from Mares. Ponce de Leon was able to collect himself and come back out for the third round, which was another evenly matched round until the last minute, when Mares landed 10 power punches in a quick flurry as time expired.
The fourth round was more of the same, but the momentum began to turn during the fifth. Ponce de Leon started to land more of his big lefts, and it looked like he was going to mount a glorious comeback. It appeared that he had the former Mexican Olympic Boxing representative in Mares on both the literal and proverbial ropes.
Ponce de Leon finally landed more total power strikes than Mares in the fifth and continued to fight back through the eighth round. Mares' spots became less focused and became wild potshots instead of dissecting counters. It started to look like the defending champion was going to turn things around.
|Ponce de Leon||Mares|
The ninth round is when the bout became a straight-up fight. Both men started trading haymakers back and forth until Mares caught Ponce de Leon with a thunderous shot which would send him to the canvas for the second time. Just a few seconds later, Mares would keep pouring it on until he sent Ponce de Leon reeling against the ropes, pummeling him with punch after punch until the referee stepped in to call the fight in Mares' favor.
Abner Mares captured the WBC Featherweight Championship after nine hard-fought rounds and some overall great boxing.
Not to say that Mares didn't deserve the victory and the title, but some viewers thought the match was called prematurely by the referee.
Just hate the stoppage there. Ponce De Leon was defending and punching back.— Scott Christ (@badlefthook) May 5, 2013
The ending has already become a major point of contention in the boxing world, especially on Twitter.
Ponce De Leon still swinging as fight was stopped. Too early?— HuffPost Sports (@HuffPostSports) May 5, 2013
After being dropped in the 9th, Ponce de Leon was in trouble on the ropes and the ref called it off. Thoughts? #MayDay— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) May 5, 2013
Either way, whether you think the match was called early or not, Mares had Ponce de Leon's number throughout. Ponce de Leon had a few solid rounds, but Mares was simply too good on this night. Mares was more than deserving of the championship, especially considering that this is his third title in as many weight classes in the last three years.
Mares was able to effectively counter Ponce de Leon's attacks and used his power strikes with precise timing to put him on the canvas on two separate occasions and keep him reeling long enough that the ref had to put an end to the bout.
As for Ponce de Leon, he wasn't fond of the decision to call an end to his first title defense. "I want a rematch. The ref stopped the fight too quickly. He stepped in too fast."