Former Mexican Olympian Abner Mares captured the World Boxing Council featherweight world title with a ninth round technical knockout of Daniel Ponce de Leon Saturday in Las Vegas.
The 27-year-old Mares remained undefeated as he knocked the champion down in the second round and then again in the ninth.
He sent de Leon to the canvas early in the ninth with a thundering right hand before referee Jay Nady halted the fight later in the round with de Leon pinned on the ropes and absorbing some heavy blows.
He hit de Leon square on the jaw with a big left hook to set up the right.
Mares, who improved to 26-0 with one drawn, also knocked de Leon down late in the second round, hitting him with a one-two combination that included a left followed by a glancing right.
The second round knockdown was just the sixth time in his career that de Leon had been knocked down. He fell to 44-5.
This was the first defence of the title for de Leon. He got off to a slow start and was behind on the judges' scorecards before appearing to get his second wind in a strong seventh round.
The fight was the main undercard bout on the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero scheduled 12-round fight for Mayweather's World Boxing Council welterweight world title.