Subriel Matias takes the vacant IBF junior welter title by stopping Jeremias Ponce in five
Jeremias Ponce tried playing a fire game Saturday night on a PBC event on Showtime’s “Championship Boxing” from The Armory in Minneapolis.
He picked the wrong partner.
Subriel Matias took a barrage of shots in the first round of their fight for the vacant IFB junior welterweight title. Behind his even veneer, Matias seemed to be smiling like he wanted more, because he knew the 26-year-old Argentinian was playing into his fiery hands.
In the fifth round, he was proven right, when Ponce did not come out for the sixth round, giving the 30-year-old from Puerto Rico and The Ring’s No. 4-rated 140-pounder the IBF belt.
“I’m calm because I worked very hard for this moment for 10 months, so I had nothing to worry about,” Matias said. “To be honest, I wanted to knock him out on the sixth, but the round was over. I told myself that I was going to work him harder, but his corner stopped the fight.
“In the fifth round, I knew he was hurt. He was going backwards so I kept on going. I’m like a lion looking for a prey.”
Ponce (30-1, 20 knockouts) came right at Matias in the first minute of the fight, hitting him with sweeping left hooks and shots from varied angles. Matias (19-1, 19 KOs) did not seem to be bothered by it.
Ponce tried again in the second, basically flinging Matias’ style back at him. It worked on the scorecards. It didn’t work too well with Matias. He appeared to be biding his time.
“I’m a guy that for the first four rounds, I’m very tentative,” Matias admitted. “I saw him coming out this way and I was trying also to prepare.”
Near the end of the fourth, Matias plowed Ponce with a left hook that caught Ponce on the side of his heads. As time was winding down in the fifth, Matias increased the pressure, catching Ponce with a left to the body, putting him down for the second time in his career.
.@SubrielMatias sends Ponce to the canvas at the end of the 5th and Ponce's corner stops the fight between rounds 😳#MatiasPonce pic.twitter.com/pvXSAlUHtw
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) February 26, 2023
Ponce’s corner saw enough and called it after five.
“I’m fine,” Ponce said. “My team knows me, and they made the decision that they had to make. It hurts, but the most important thing is that I’m healthy.
“I thought it was an even fight, but one punch can change everything and that’s what happened. Subriel is a tough, strong fighter and I knew what he was capable of. I want to let my wife and my daughter know that I’m okay, things happen for a reason. I hope I get the rematch.”
On the undercard, Jamal James beat southpaw Alberto Palmetta coming back from a 16-month layoff with a unanimous 10-round welterweight decision.
James (28-2, 12 KOs) won by scores of 99-91 and 98-92 twice.
“I’m pretty sure everybody can see that layoff affect me. I had a lot of rust in me,” James said. “My legs weren’t sharp, my punches weren’t sharp, but I’m glad I was able to get in there. I liked that because it’s pushing me mentally and it made me step up to the occasion.
“I could see everything and hear everything that they wanted me to do, but as I was trying to go through with their instructions, I just wasn’t coming off as sharp as I should’ve been. I was trying to adapt.
“I definitely felt like I won the fight, but I believe I could’ve done much better. I know that I’m a lot sharper. I know that my endurance is a lot stronger. I just had a lot of time off and my body is still getting back in shape. I’ll be back for sure.”
Coming off an 11-month layoff, Elvis Rodriguez took a 10-round junior welterweight majority decision over Joseph Adorno. Despite knocking down Adorno twice, once in the seventh and again in the 10th, though it was dubious, Rodriguez (14-1-1, 12 KOs) won by scores of 95-93, 97-91, with one judge submitting a 94-94 score.
“I hadn’t fought in a long time. I had a long layoff. I was a little rusty but once I found my hook, I found my distance,” Rodriguez said. “I thought I had him once I landed that right hook, but he got up,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a warrior and a good fighter. The seventh round was huge, that’s when I truly started to win this fight. I have to give credit to Adorno for being savvy and knowing how to keep his distance before then.
“Like I said yesterday at the weigh-in, bring on the winner of the main event. And to my people in the Dominican Republic, just know that I’ll be back even bolder and better next time.”
Adorno (17-2-2, 14 KOs) started well with a solid body attack, then tapered off. He was knocked down for the first time in his career in the seventh, and appeared to slip on a wet spot in the ring in the 10th.
“I thought the judges were blind,” Adorno said. “I can’t get a win with these judges. I don’t know how you see the fight 94-94. I thought I won every round except the ones he dropped me.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
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