Magnificent De Leon

Magnificent De Leon
By Seconds Out

18/03/2007 at 07:00Updated

Big punching junior featherweight title holder Daniel Ponce De Leon overcame a spirited performance by 58 fight veteran Gerry Penalosa to retain his WBO and IBA titles.

After a confident and successful first round in which he landed hard shots against the body of the smaller man, the Mexican southpaw was forced to dig deep to pull out the victory.

Looking at times like a tailgater trying to swat a pesky wasp, DeLeon found it difficult to deal with Penalosa"s speed but after a shaky second round, the champion vastly outpunched the former junior bantamweight titlist throughout the fight.

Penalosa landed hard right hooks, almost at will, on the jaw of his opponent but was unable to hurt the hard chinned Mexican. Scores: 119-109, 120-108, 119-110.

In a hotly contested and surprisingly entertaining light welterweight bout, unbeaten Demetrius Hopkins 26-0-1 (10) out-pointed former world titlist Steve Forbes 32-4 (9 to retain his USBA belt.

After spending the first two rounds eating a steady diet of left hooks and sharp jabs, Forbes turned the aggressor in the third, bringing the fight to &lsquoD-Hop" and prying the Philadelphian from his comfort zone.

Hopkins, to his credit, hung in there and made Forbes work hard for every landed punch – most of which were targeted firmly to the midsection of the tall 26-year-old.

It was an undoubtedly difficult fight to score as both men fought each other close in a majority of the rounds. Ringside judges however, handed in three bizarrely lopsided scorecards to preserve Hopkins" unblemished professional record. Scores 118-110, 117-111, 118-111.