Daniel Ponce de Leon stuck himself into the discussion at 126 pounds by knocking Antonio Escalante out of it. Ponce de Leon demolished Escalante by third round knockout in the opening bout of the Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora pay-per-view.
Ponce de Leon (40-2, 33 KO) dominated the first two rounds, repeatedly landing powerful shots on an overmatched Escalante (24-3, 15 KO). It was a sobering reality tonight for Escalante, who as Larry Merchant of HBO put it came in a big fish from his local pond in El Paso, Texas, but was just well out of his depth tonight against a world-stage fighter.
The win puts Ponce de Leon in line for a shot at the WBO featherweight title, currently held by Juan Manuel Lopez. Lopez stopped Ponce de Leon at 122 pounds in one round back in 2008. Since then, Ponce de Leon has gone 6-0.
Ponce de Leon landed 78 of 152 power shots (51%). Escalante was tough to deter, but the 25-year-old just kept running right into power shots.
We'll have more live coverage, with Victor Ortiz-Vivian Harris coming up next.