Sometimes we get rematches to fights that, at the time, would have seemed to have never need them. On June 7, 2008 Juan Manuel Lopez challenged Daniel Ponce De Leon for the WBO junior featherweight title in an anticipated fight. It was a can't-miss type of showdown, guaranteed to feature heated exchanges. But the final result was just the opposite, with the fight over before the first round could end. Lopez floored Ponce De Leon three times and the referee waved off the action with 35 seconds left to go in the round. It was a massive statement for the fast-rising Lopez, who appeared to be on his way to relative stardom in boxing.
But things have changed, as they tend to do, over the past six years and Lopez is now on the other side of the hill. In fact, he is sledding down that hill at breakneck speeds. Ponce De Leon, on the other hand, has maintained a pretty straight-forward career projectory, losing here and winning there but always competitive and willing to step in the ring with anybody. He's been a good gatekeeper to a certain degree, losing cleanly to Abner Mares and Yuriorkis Gamboa while dropping a dubious decision to Adrien Broner at 130 pounds. He also holds a win over Johnny Gonzalez who just defeated Mares via shocking knockout.
So despite the one-sided nature of their first encounter, a rematch makes sense for each. Lopez badly needs a win to stay relevant, and Ponce De Leon wants revenge.
They'll get their chance on March 15th on the undercard of Danny Garcia's fight with Mauricio Herrera in Bayamon Puerto Rico, Lopez's home nation. The card will be televised by Showtime.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer had this to say, via Boxing Scene's Rick Reeno:
"Another fight theme of Mexico vs. Puerto Rico. Ponce wants to set the record straight, to avenge his defeat to JuanMa and he wants to do it in JuanMa's hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. This is going to be another fireworks fight."
Ponce De Leon's manager Frank Espinoza:
"That loss has been a thorn in Ponce's side for a long time. He really wants to make things right. He thinks JuanMa landed a miracle punch. I've never seen him this eager in a very long (time). He's wanted JuanMa for years and he didn't care where the fight was going to take place. It could have happened in the middle of Sunset Park in Brooklyn. I believe Ponce will be very, very prepared for this fight. Ponce wants to return the favor, with a knockout of his own. This is going to be the end of the road for JuanMa, I just feel bad it's going to happen in his hometown."
Who do you like to win the rematch between JuanMa and Ponce De Leon?