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Azad Championship Report: Ponce de Leon vs. Mares: Signed, Sealed and Delivered

Abner Mares
Abner Mares

After what has been a slow start to the 2013 boxing schedule, beset by injuries and postponements, it seems to be picking up steam going into the spring. And Golden Boy Promotions is doing more than its part to add to this momentum with what could be the most fan-friendly doubleheader of the year on April 20th.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer announced to Maxboxing on Monday, “[Abner] Mares and [WBC featherweight titleholder Daniel] Ponce de Leon signed, Home Depot Center. How do you like it? This is going to be an amazing fight, toe-to-toe action. This is like when we did Israel Vazquez against Rafael Marquez, two Mexican warriors and you paired them up and you knew it was going to be a great fight. Here, with Mares and Ponce de Leon, two real Mexican warriors, it sorta reminds me of all that. And then to top it all off, you put it in the same venue?”
The classic first and third chapters of Vazquez-Marquez took place at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Stephen Espinoza of Showtime, which would televise this clash, confirms both fighters have put their names on the dotted line.
“It doesn’t get much better than that,” said Schaefer, excitedly. “Actually, it does, a little bit better if I would be able to - and I’m not there yet, so no promises - to pair it up with Josesito Lopez against Marcos Maidana. Oh, my God, who wouldn’t want to be there?”
Well, along with many other boxing fans in Southern California and beyond, sign me up.
Then you could see a collision between two premier junior welterweights in Lamont Peterson (who successfully returned to the ring by dismantling Kendall Holt last Friday night) and perhaps the most feared figure in this division, “The Machine,” Lucas Matthysse on May 18th.
“It seems to me that both fighters are open to it. Let’s see if we can get it done and potentially pair it up with Devon Alexander and Kell Brook,” said Schaefer of the fight that was supposed to take place this past weekend in Detroit before Alexander suffered a biceps injury in camp.
As for the venue, Schaefer is inclined to do it in a neutral setting for all four fighters. “I think we have to be fair; I wouldn’t do it in Argentina and I wouldn’t do it in Washington D.C. but maybe the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. That seems to be a perfect spot or other spots somewhere in the East Coast would be my preference.”
This should be music to Matthysse’s ears given his two losses to Alexander and Zab Judah were on enemy turf.
On April 20th, Main Events will be staging a nationally televised card from the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, featuring a heavyweight contest between British prospect Tyson Fury and Steve Cunningham. Making his official Main Events debut on that undercard as the opener on NBC will be their newest signee, middleweight Curtis “Showtime” Stevens, who officially inked a promotional pact with the company on Monday.
In a press release sent out by Main Events, Stevens said, “Everybody on your team isn’t always in your corner but now I’m signed to Main Events and I have a great team in my corner. I had two years off and now I’m back. Now I’m going to take over the middleweight division. All glory be to God.”
In his last outing, Stevens stopped Elvin Ayala in one round on January 19th on the NBC Sports Network. In a relatively thin middleweight division, he is an intriguing wild card, one who can punch and is known to American audiences. And if you’ve seen the difficulty the likes of Gennady Golovkin has had in getting guys to step up and face him, Stevens can be a valuable player on the chess board.
On that same press release, Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, said, “Curtis has the potential to go all the way. He has power, skills and miles of personality. His stunning first round KO of Elvin Ayala on ‘NBC Fight Night’ in January made quite a statement and we listened. We are so pleased to make Curtis part of the Main Events family and look forward to having much success together.”
Schaefer says he hopes to have some resolution as to whether Saul Alvarez will face Austin Trout on May 4th or someone else on that card “within the next 24 hours.”...The March 30th card from Monte Carlo that will feature Golovkin against Nobu Ishida, Edwin Rodriguez vs. Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna and Zsolt Erdei vs. Denis Grachev will be distributed on pay-per-view by Integrated Sports Media that afternoon. The retail price is set at $24.95...The March 22nd edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” will take place from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago and have Donovan “Da Bomb” George facing David Lopez and Adrian Granados taking on veteran Kermit Cintron. Expect the usual lively throng in “The Windy City”...HBO premieres “Cornered” on March 5th (10:15 p.m. ET/PT), which will focus on some of the noted figures in boxing who don’t actually fight. Its first subject will be Michael Buffer...As if Manti Te’o didn’t have enough question marks regarding him before his 40-time...The Miami Hurricanes’ 2013 football schedule is very manageable. I don’t think a “Bo Derek” (a 10-win season) is out of the questionI can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.

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