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De Leon -vs- Bautista tonight! HBO's Mexico vs Phillipines Annual World Cup

The Jr Featherweight Division beginning to heat up now!

Mexico vs Phillipines
De Leon vs Bautista
Gonzalez vs Penalosa

Tonight, WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon defends his title against undefeated top contender Rey Boom Boom Bautista in a fight that could produce fireworks - fireworks that might actually rival that of Vasquez/Marquez. Like Vasquez and Marquez, the combatants in tonight's match also campaign at the weight limit of 122lbs. There are a number of fighters there who could fight each other on any given day and give boxing fans the type of crowd pleasing action that they want to see.

Fighters at 122lbs include Vasquez (currently the World Champion), Marquez, De Leon, Bautista, and another titleholder (WBA version) by the name of Cellestino Caballero, who pinned the first and only loss on the record of De leon.

De Leon in on a seven fight win streak (7-0, 5 KOs), since suffering the first loss of his professional career almost two years ago. In September of 2005, Cellestino upset the De Leon with a unanimous points win. Since that fight, Cellestino and De Leon have both moved on to win title belts in the 122lb weight class. Cellestino won the WBA belt with a unanimous decision over Yobert Ortega in October of 2005, while De Leon picked up the WBO strap with a unanimous decision victory over Sod Looknongyangtoy in that same month two weeks later.

Tonight, a young undefeated contender in Bautista looks to win his first world title and add his name to the top of the list in a division that is beginning to heat up in its own right. One week removed from the Vasquez/Marquez rematch, De Leon and Bautista look to give the viewing public their own memorable display of fireworks.

Bautista fought Sergio Manuel Medina on the under card of the De la hoya/Mayweather fight on May 5, in a battle of young undefeated jr featherweights. Bautista controlled the action for the most part, hurting and dropping Medina in the sixth stanza, but was hurt by Medina himself in the 11th round, at which the referee administered a standing eight count. Nonetheless, Bautista survived that nervous moment and went on to win a unanimous decision over Medina and remain undefeated. The Bautista/Medina fight may very well have been the most entertaining fight on that card. That win put Bautista in the position that he is in tonight.

This fight between De Leon and Bautista signifies boxing's typically classic matchup of boxer vs. puncher. De Leon is the puncher, while Bautista is the boxer. Bautista has the ability to outbox De Leon, much like Caballero was able to do two years ago, but as he showed in the Medina fight, his chin and defense are also a bit shaky. This could spell his demise against De Leon who has the ability to end his fights with one punch.

Tune in to HBO Boxing After Dark tonight to see this awesome match up. as it is the type of even matchup between two young puglists that Boxing After Dark was initially created to present over ten years ago. A star or two could be born tonight, as has happened on Boxing After Dark throughout the years of its existence. Statistics in recent years have shown that the lower weight classes, because of the action packed fights that have been happening in those classes, have drawn more viewers and generated more revenue (yes, even PPV revenue), than has been the case with the heavyweights and the higher weight classes.

Also, on the under card, WBO Bantamweight Champion Jhonny Gonzalez defends his title against the ancient Gerry Penalosa. Penalosa, while durable, is still too small and way too old to compete with Gonzalez at this stage of his career. I expect to see Gonzalez outbox him, beat him down, and either stop him late or win a unanimous decision.