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Juan Manuel Lopez faces Daniel Ponce De Leon tonight on Showtime

By Allan Fox: Former two division world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30 KO’s) faces Daniel Ponce De Leon (45-5, 35 KO’s) tonight in an important fight for both guys on Showtime Extreme from the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, Bayamon, in Puerto Rico. The two fighters aren’t new each other after having battled in the past in 2008 in a fight in which Lopez scored a 1st round knockout. But that was when Lopez was young at 24, and just reaching the peak of his career.

He’s no longer the same fighter now after having been stopped twice by Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia. Lopez’s first loss to Salido in April of 2011 seemed to have taken something out of him, because he’s not looked the same ever since then. You can go back two years before that to Lopez’s fight against Rogers Mtagwa to see where he may have started to go downhill as a fighter.

Mtagwa hurt Lopez in the 11th round, and had him badly hurt the entire 12th. Lopez was literally out on his feet for the entire three minutes of the 12th round. Lopez was able to stay on his feet and get the 12 round decision, but he didn’t look as solid after that fight when taking shots. In two of Lopez’s three fights after that, he was buzzed briefly by Bernabe Concepcion and Rafael Marquez before facing Salido for the first time in 2011.

Lopez won consecutive fights against weak opposition – Aldimar Silva Santos and Eugenio Lopez – after his second loss to Salido in 2012, but he was then knocked out in the 4th round by Mike Garcia last year in June. Lopez has been out of action ever since the loss to Mikey, and hopefully the time off will have helped him rather than hurt him. With the beating he took against Mikey, Lopez could have used an entire year off to recover from the punishment inflicted upon him.

De Leon, 33, has been fighting a little better than Lopez as of late. He’s won 4 out of his last 5 fights. He was stopped last year in the 9th round by Abner Mares in May, but there’s no shame in losing to a fighter as good as Mares. That was before Mares was crushed by Jhonny Gonzalez. In De Leon’s last fight, he defeated Joksan Hernandez by a 10 round decision last November.

Lopez’s only chance of winning this fight tonight is for him to jump on De Leon quickly and try to take him out with a left hook as fast as possible, because if De Leon is given any time to land his big power shots. he’ll knock Lopez out. Lopez’s punch resistance was never good to begin with, but it appears to have gotten worse.

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