Abner Mares def. Daniel Ponce de Leon by TKO round 9 2:20
Expectations were high for this fight, and these two men managed to meet those expectations. This was an excellent affair, with some interesting changes in momentum. From the beginning, it looked like Mares was going to be the more technical fighter and potentially make it an easy night. In round 2, Mares used that superior technique to score a knockdown, and he continued to control it from there. But near the midway point, Ponce de Leon used his power to get back in it, winning some of the middle rounds and making it quite a fight.
Unfortunately, what was developing into a potential classic was cut short in round 9. Mares dropped Ponce de Leon for the second time in that round, then moved in for the kill. He trapped Ponce de Leon against the ropes and was firing off shots when the referee stepped in and waved the fight off. Ponce de Leon was in trouble, no doubt, but at the time of the stoppage, he was focused on Mares and was actually throwing punches back at the exact moment it was stopped. Bad, premature stoppage there that brought an unfortunate ending to an otherwise excellent fight.
One of the big stories here was that this was the first fight at the new weight for Mares. There were questions about how the step up would treat him. Mares showed that he is a terrific fighter who can still win and win big here, though he did seem to slow in the middle stages of the fight, which has to be considered.
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