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  Daniel Ponce De Leon Aims To Return On May 21

By Carlos Cordoba
Photos: William Trillo


Spring kicked off with a very uncharacteristic down pour of rain in Southern California. The rain seemed to be endless as I made my way to the La Habra Boxing Club to meet with former WBO super bantamweight champ Daniel Ponce De Leon 41-3, 34 KO’s. Daniel arrived at the scheduled time of 1:00pm with his chief trainer Dub Huntley by his side. Inside they met with trainer and California Hall of Famer David Martinez. I quickly followed and could not help but notice the rich history that littered the walls of the boxing gym which is tucked away in a narrow cul-de-sac in La Habra, CA. The city is just 25 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles.

This seemed to be the perfect setting for a warrior who is looking to hone his skills and re-group after a difficult defeat. Daniel practically had the gym to himself. He was deep into an animated conversation with Dub Huntley and David Martinez as I approached him. We immediately began to discuss his last fight and his team’s future plans.

Daniel Ponce De Leon, 30, is just sixteen days removed from a very dubious loss to the newly crowned WBO Inter-Continental Super featherweight champ Adrien Broner 20-0, 16 KO’s.

You would be hard pressed to find a boxing pundit that does not believe that Daniel got a raw deal when he lost a unanimous decision to Adrien Broner in the co-feature of the Saul Alvarez vs. Matthew Hatton card which took place on March 5th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Furthermore, even a boxing novice would find it difficult to accept how Judge Tony Crebs scored the bout. His final tally was 91-99 in favor of Broner, while Judges Raul Caiz Jr. and David Denkin both followed suit and scored the bout 94-96 for Broner, consequently handing Daniel Ponce De Leon his third loss.

“Everybody knows that I won, that’s the reality of things. It’s just that the judges’ scorecards did not see it that way,” said Daniel Ponce De Leon when asked about his most recent defeat. “…but the fight I won! That’s how I feel. It also gave me more experience and knowledge to keep on fighting and continue to work towards a world championship.”

Dub Huntley, who once fought Argentinean legend Carlos Monzon in 1964 and also trained Layla Ali was in complete accord with his fighter.

“I thought he won the fight,” said Huntley after being asked about his pupil’s last bout.

The conversation quickly shifted to a different topic and that was Ponce De Leon’s future. At this stage in the game not many fighters have a bright future ahead; although, Daniel is not every fighter. He is the consummate professional with a fan friendly style and a remarkable resume that includes victories over a then undefeated Sod Kokietgym whom he defeated twice. He also has impressive victories over Gerry Penalosa, an undefeated Ray Bautista, Eduardo Escobedo, and Cornelius Lock. With that being said, what does the future hold for the Chihuahua, Mexico native?

“Today is my first day back in training; I’m going to be preparing for May 21st… I’m preparing for that date,” Said Daniel Ponce De Leon as he addressed his future plans. “I’m still with Golden Boy, and we are looking to fight in Mexico against a well known opponent, someone good and strong”

Whoever steps into the ring with Daniel will not have the size advantage that Adrien Broner enjoyed.

“I felt good fighting at the weight (128.5 lbs), I felt well conditioned and strong,” said Daniel when addressing his weight going into his last match. “But, my next fight we are going to fight at 126 lbs that’s my weight class and in doing so we won’t be giving up any advantage and we can be evenly matched with whoever I face.”

It’s still unclear who he is going to face on the projected date of his return. What is certain is his desire to avenge his most brutal loss against Puerto Rican sensation Juan Manuel Lopez. It’s hard to say that he is not preparing for Juan’Ma; even Dub Huntley desires that bout. The focus and motivation that drives Daniel Ponce De Leon to train for a faceless opponent on a rainy day signals to that end.

Daniel won’t get the fight that he desires right away; albeit, it may come down the line. What’s certain will be his daily presence at the La Habra Boxing Club. Dub Huntley will be by his side working on improving his boxing technique, making sure that Daniel’s left foot turns as he throws his left hooks and his right leg leads his straight right. He will continue to improve and grow, rain or shine.

I made my way out the gym about an hour and a half into Daniel Ponce De Leon’s workout. He and Dub were still grinding. As I opened the door, I noticed the storm had decimated and the sun shone above the old chapel which became a boxing club.


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