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Lopez saves his career by stopping Ponce de Leon

(Photo © German Villasenor)
(Photo © German Villasenor)

By John J. Raspanti

Facing a career ending loss, Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez (34-3, 31 KOs) picked himself off the canvas to stop rival Daniel Ponce de Leon (45-6, 35 KOs) in round two in a wild slugfest at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

This was the second time the former champions have met. Lopez, 30, had blitzed Ponce de Leon five years ago in the opening stanza. The conventional thinking was that the older Ponce de Leon, 33, was the younger fighter. When last seen in the ring, Lopez took a fearful beating from Mikey Garcia before being stopped in round four.

The fight started fast.

Ponce de Leon had no trouble finding Lopez with power shots in the opening stanza. Lopez absorbed them and fired back. In round two, Ponce de Leon continued to find success. A combination of hooks put Lopez down on his knees. The slugger was up at the count of two. Ponce de Leon went for the kill only to be caught a few seconds later by a vicious counter hook. The powerful blow dropped de Leon on his back. Up at nine, he was soon down again from a combination of body shots.

Lopez pushed de Leon into the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches. Referee Luis Pabon paused before waving the contest off.

The time was 2:44 of round two.

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