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Mares-Ponce de Leon? 'Get it done,' says Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was keen on his May 4 defense against Mexican-American Robert Guerrero being complimented by an all-Mexican clash between Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce de Leon.
The initial plan for the May 4 Showtime Pay Per View card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was to have the welterweight headliner between WBC beltholder Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero be complimented by a 154-pound clash featuring popular Mexican WBC titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and WBA counterpart Austin Trout.
But after a negotiations snag moved Alvarez-Trout to April 20 at The Alamodome on Showtime, displacing a bout that matched rising two-division titlewinner Abner Mares and WBC featherweight titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon from its original date, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer proposed to Mayweather the notion of replacing Alvarez-Trout with Mares-Ponce de Leon.
Mayweather's response? "Get it done," said Schaefer.
"We already had a big pay per view on May 4, which, now, has just gotten bigger," said Schaefer. "Because we have now confirmed that Abner Mares is going to fight Daniel Ponce de Leon from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on that date, as part of the pay per view."
So now, the Mexico-born Mares (25-0-1, 13 knockouts) will pursue his third belt over as many divisions against Mexican Ponce de Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) on Cinco De Mayo weekend, a prestigious Mexican holiday.
"I believe that this is going to be a great fight, where you have two Mexican warriors on Cinco De Mayo. What more can you ask for?" said manager Frank Espinoza, who handles both Mares and Ponce de Leon.
"This fight between Daniel Ponce de Leon and Abner Mares will mean a lot not only to the Mexican fans, but to all of the fans around the world."
In the main event, Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) will defend his belt opposite another Mexican-American in Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), a winner of 15 straight fights, nine of those by knockout.
"When the Canelo fight was pulled off, and Canelo decided to get his own date, Floyd Mayweather called me himself, and he said that he really wanted to make sure, as all of his fights always are, a big event. Floyd wanted it to be like the Super Bowl of boxing," said Schaefer.
"Floyd wanted to make sure that there was going to be a lineup of great fights on the card. He wanted me to get the biggest fight that I could and get it done for that card. I told Floyd that the biggest one would be Ponce de Leon and Abner Mares, and he only said three worlds: 'Get it done.'"
Schaefer then contacted Espinoza.
"The manager for both fighters, Frank Espinoza, did a terrific job to get it done. He realized the opportunity," said Schaefer.
"This offers to each of his fighters the chance to be showcased on the biggest stage of boxing. We got it done, and I'm very happy for the fight fans. The fighters are excited, so everything is great."
"Abner's dream and his goal has always been to win a third world championship, and this is the time. Ponce de Leon knows how much that a win over Abner will benefit him as well," said Espinoza.
"So, I'm very excited for both of my fighters. I had a discussion with each one of them when Golden Boy came to me. I went to each one and I asked if they were interested in fighting one another. They both agreed and they were both on board."
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org