Perhaps the most interesting fight on this Saturday's Mayweather-Mosley PPV undercard is the featherweight bout between Daniel Ponce de Leon and Cornelius Lock. Let's get into it.
Daniel Ponce de Leon (38-2, 32 KO) v. Cornelius Lock (19-4-1, 12 KO)
Featherweights, 10 Rounds
(Ponce de Leon photo by Jed Jacobsohn - Getty Images / Lock photo via box観戦記録)
It's been nearly two years since a fight featuring former 122-pound titlist Daniel Ponce de Leon has been widely available on American television. The last time many saw him, he was stopped in just 2:25 by Juan Manuel Lopez, a star-making performance for the young Puerto Rican and one that sent Ponce de Leon's stock crashing, and his career up to the featherweight ranks.
Ponce de Leon, 29, has fought four times since then. He did stay at 122 for one more fight, knocking out Damian David Marchiano in four rounds in November 2008. Since making the move to 126, he's gone 3-0, beating Marlon Aguilar, former lame Chris John title challenger Roinet Caballero, and Orlando Cruz.
The Mexican southpaw's brawling style can be fun to watch, but against an opponent who can control his aggression, his slow, plodding, one punch-driven style can also be a bore. He's not much if you're looking for a dynamic fighter -- he has basically one speed, though he does finish well, doesn't often put his punches together very well, and I think he'll always struggle against guys who offer him different looks.
The Lopez fight was a first round stoppage, and my feelings on first round stoppages at the high levels are pretty well-established here by now, so I won't go into all that. But that was one I felt was legit -- Lopez, with his power, the way he can light up in combination, and his speed advantage over Ponce de Leon, probably always stops Daniel early in a fight. Ponce de Leon's defense has historically been on the horrendous side, and a guy like Lopez, who has solid technique and really good accuracy, can really do some savage work quickly.
Ponce de Leon's other career loss may be the more relevant to this fight, however. Back in February 2005, Ponce de Leon, then unbeaten obviously, faced Celestino Caballero at The Avalon in Hollywood, in a 122-pound eliminator for the IBF belt. Caballero, at 5'11" with his 72" reach, pretty well clobbered Ponce de Leon, who had no answers all night. Caballero wound up winning the fight on scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 115-112. For the first time in his career, Ponce de Leon met up with a guy who could match his own long arms (at just 5'5", Ponce de Leon has a big 70" reach), but was also much, much taller than him, and exploited all the holes in Ponce's defense.
Enter Cornelius Lock, a 31-year-old from Detroit who trains under Roger Mayweather. (Roger, by the way, has three fighters on the main card, so expect a lot of corner f-bombs.) At 5'7", Lock doesn't have Caballero's height, and even if he did, he also just isn't as good as Caballero. He's not on that level. But his 73" reach could give Ponce de Leon some real problems, at least if he decides to use it, which is something he often doesn't do.
To be honest, I can't go much further here in breaking down Lock. I've seen him fight plenty now, and he was fairly impressive in a fun fifth round stoppage of Orlando Cruz on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard. Ponce de Leon also recently fought Cruz, knocking him out in three.
The reason I can't go much further is that eventually I have to get to the stage where I point out something on Cruz's record that I think is of vital importance, so why not just get to it and stop pussyfooting around? Lock has been stopped three times. In his pro debut, he was a TKO-3 victim of a guy named Mark McQueen, who was also making his debut. A month later, McQueen fought Steve Molitor, lost via TKO-3 himself, and never fought again.
In 2004, Cristobal Cruz got him out in eight. In 2005, Mario Santiago stopped him in five.
So how does Lock handle Ponce de Leon's thudding power? I don't think he can. Lock fights too recklessly, doesn't use his reach to his advantage as much as he should, and has the sort of mental lapses that can lead to a rocket left from Ponce de Leon, ending the night in short order. If Cornelius Lock surprises me and boxes, uses his legs to stay out of Ponce de Leon's wheelhouse, and establishes distance early, we could be in for an interesting and entertaining fight. I think it'll be somewhat entertaining anyway, but because Lock will let himself get into a fight with Ponce that he just can't win. Ponce de Leon TKO-5