Daniel Ponce De Leon not interested in Celestino Caballero rematch

Josh Hedges - Getty Images

Daniel Ponce De Leon recently won the WBC featherweight title, and says he's not interested in facing the man who took his unbeaten record seven years ago, Celestino Caballero.

Newly-crowned WBC featherweight champ Daniel Ponce De Leon says he's not interested in a rematch with Celestino Caballero, who handed Ponce De Leon his first defeat back in 2005.

"I respect him, and he is a good champion. He has the glory of having taken my unbeaten record, but at this time as a champion I'm taking a different path. ... He can continue to enjoy his triumph of 2005 and his new title and I can explore better options in boxing."

Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KO) had a horrible time with the height, reach, and overall style of Caballero (36-4, 23 KO) when they met seven years ago, and though both have changed, gotten older, and aren't the same fighters they were then, they also aren't so different that I wouldn't guess Ponce De Leon to again have it rough with the 5'10" Panamanian featherweight.

Caballero actually might not have that "new title" that Ponce De Leon mentions much longer. He's basically refusing to fight Nicholas Walters, his WBA mandatory. Canelo Promotions won a purse bid for $120,000 for that matchup recently, but Caballero has danced around it and all but said he has no interest in the fight. He would make $90,000, kind of a stinging comedown from the $300K he would have made to go through with that fight against Mikey Garcia earlier this year that was set and then never happened. It's expected he'll move up to 130, where he's fought once and lost to Jason Litzau.

#TheMoneyTeam indeed.

As for Ponce De Leon, his technical decision win over Jhonny Gonzalez on September 15 was pretty dissatisfying overall for boxing fans, but it made him a two-division champion and gives him some leverage. It wouldn't be any surprise if he took a "victory lap" first title defense, but I think a lot of people would probably like to see a rematch with Gonzalez, not only because it ended without a conclusive finish, but because the fight still has fireworks potential and they both know each other now. Or it could have more cuts.

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