This Saturday, WBO featherweight champion, Mikey Garcia, 31-0, 26 KO’s, will take on former champion, Juan Manuel Lopez, 33-2, 30 KO’s, in an HBO Boxing After Dark event. This fight promises to be a war that could end at any time. There is really no need for judges in this fight. We will not see the final round.
The story of the fight is Juan Manuel Lopez. Juanma came onto the scene and filled the spot that was left by the Puerto Rican great fighters before him like Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad. He has all the characteristics to fill the slot, but ring veteran, Orlando Salido would send his career into a tailspin and would knock him out of the big stage picture. Very few mention Lopez anymore and that will change depending on what he can do Saturday night.
Lopez has a great record and many of the men that have fallen to his fists have been world class fighters. Daniel Ponce De Leon gave Adrien Broner the most problems in his young career, taking him ten rounds and fighting a relatively even fight, but Lopez blasted him out of there in the first round. He battered Rafael Marquez into submission in eight rounds. He has been in there with some very good fighters and has beaten them all, but Salido had his number.
In boxing, there are fighters that just have the right style and approach that prevent the opponent from beating them, even if the opponent is a better fighter. Shane Mosley could not get past Vernon Forrest and lost on two occasions. Forrest had the same fate, losing twice to Ricardo Mayorga. It can be argued that Mosley is a better fighter than Forrest and Forrest better than Mayorga, but they just had their number. Salido was just the wrong guy for Lopez and they found that out on two painful occasions.
Garcia is on the fast track to superstardom. In his last fight, he stopped Orlando Salido, dominating him the entire way before putting him out of his misery. Garcia carries punching power in both hands and many are seeing his power as being the deciding factor in this fight. Another factor to consider it the questionable defense of Juanma. What happens when Garcia lands, and he will? This could prove to be an early night for the Puerto Rican fighter, but he too possesses great power in both hands and may end it himself if he lands first.
Going into Saturday’s fight, it’s easy to dismiss Juanma and look forward to who Garcia will fight next, but if you take away the one guy that Lopez couldn’t beat, we have an unbeaten, powerful monster in the ring. The fact that he lost twice going into this fight, putting him into the role of spoiler, may be good for him mentally. This is do or die for him and you can expect him to treat it as such. Garcia must be very careful in this fight.
Boxing has been good to us recently and this is another match up that promises to be fan-friendly and meaningful for the sport. Saturday night, these two powerful featherweights will be exchanging early and often and anything can happen at anytime. Don’t miss it.