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Straight from dSource Exclusive Interview w/ Daniel “Ponce” De Leon
Former WBO super bantamweight champion Daniel “Ponce” De Leon (41-4-0, 34 KOs) is back on the grind training to bounce back after his tough technical decision loss to Yuriorkis Gamboa in a fight that was stopped in the 8th round due to a cut sustained from an accidental head butt.
Once considered as one of the hottest rising stars in the sport, De Leon, now 31-years-old, is determined to get his career back on track and capture another world title.
To Filipino boxing fans, De Leon is known for his 1st-round destruction of then undefeated rising star Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista (31-2-0, 23 KOs) back in 2007.
Here’s an analogy: What De Leon is to Bautista, JuanMa Lopez is to De Leon and what Orlando Salido is to Lopez.
For the non-hardcore boxing fans, it was De Leon who derailed Bautista’s rising career when he handed him that devastating loss, the way Lopez did to De Leon when he knocked him out in the first round in 2008, and Salido did to Lopez last April.
Great fighters, however, bounce back from devastating losses.
Manny Pacquiao got knocked out twice before he became a global superstar, while Sergio Martinez received the beating of his life at the hands of Antonio Margarito back in 2000 before laboring into becoming one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of today.
That’s exactly what De Leon was on the way doing prior to getting pushed back by his recent to losses to Andrian Broner and Gamboa.
- CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO OF PENALOSA AND BAUTISTA TALKING ABOUT THE DE LEON LOSS FROM 2007 (CLICK THIS LINK)
Bautista, on the other hand, has been steadily resurrecting his boxing career, stringing together five straight wins that have not gone the distance, and will be fighting undefeated Mexican KO artist Miguel Angel Mendoza (17-0, 17 KOs) this weekend at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.
And while I was in Cebu and Manila these past couple of months following Bautista’s training camp and quest for redemption, De Leon’s name came up quite a bit in our conversations. Bautista still wants to avenge his loss to De Leon, and hopes that someday would be given a chance to do so.
So I contacted De Leon to ask him his thoughts regarding Bautista, and get updates with his career as well. Check out our interview transcript below:
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dSource – “You used to be one of the hottest rising stars in boxing; now you’re considered a veteran, and lost your last 2 fights to younger, undefeated, rising stars. Tell me what’s you plans for your future and how your mentality has changed compared to about 5 years ago?”
Ponce De Leon – “Well, a lot of people thought I defeated Adrian Broner, so, I don’t consider that a loss. But I’ve made a change with my team and recently signed with manager Frank Espinoza. I think that will help me a lot because now I can only concentrate on boxing. I feel I am more experienced and have gotten better.”
dSource – “Rey ‘Boom-Boom’ Bautista used to be a promising Filipino boxer until you destroyed him in 1 round back in 2007. He has slowly come back to resurrect his career and has a regional title defense this Saturday in the Philippines. What do you think about “Boom-Boom”, and talk to me about that fight in Sacramento back in 2007.”
Ponce De Leon- “Rey Bautista is a good fighter and I wish him luck. There isn’t much to say about the fight since it only lasted one round. But it was a good win for me at the time.”
dSource – “He said you just got to him first and that he wants to fight you again. He said that if he hit you first, that you will go down too. Will you be open to give him a rematch?”
Ponce De Leon – “I don’t think that is true. I’m not sure if there is a demand for a rematch since the first fight wasn’t competitive. But if it was for a meaningful title, I would give him a rematch.”
dSource – “Who do you want to fight right now?”
Ponce De Leon – “At this time, I want to stay busy and get a few wins, then challenge one of the featherweight champions for a world title. I would like to fight Jhonny Gonzalez, Orlando Salido, or any of the other champions. But my goal is to be a world champion again in 2012.”
dSource – “In closing, do you have any messages to your fans; any announcements?”
Ponce De Leon – “Thank you for the support! I will be fighting again in Mexico on January 21st! Look out for me in 2012!”
** Writer’s note: Thank you to Frankie Espinoza, Jr. for helping facilitate this interview.
– dSG –
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “We’re going to see how good Pacquiao really is.” — Roger Mayweather
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