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Juan Manuel Lopez graduated from prospect to budding star in the opening bout on the HBO card in Atlantic City, NJ on Saturday evening. Lopez, a Puerto Rican hitter, took the WBO 122 pound crown from Mexican Daniel Ponce De Leon, who was overwhelmed by Caguas’ second most famous pugilist.

The Boardwalk Hall erupted at 2:25 of the first, as they absorbed the TKO blowout. Lopez spoke to Max Kellerman after the upset win, through a translator. “We have equal power but I have better ability,” he said.  The victor, now 22-0, said he’d be interested in unifying at 122.
The 27-year-old Ponce (34-2-1) and the 24-year-old Lopez, both lefties, didn’t need much warming up in the first. Ponce got sent to the deck, via a right hook, and Lopez looked to finish him, as he arose on unsteady legs.

Ponce hadn’t been on the floor as a pro, but he was again sent to the floor, with five stiff blows, and ref Mike Ortega looked in his eyes, and waved the fight off.

Oh, and you probably know Caguas’ most famous native: Miguel Cotto.

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