By Jackie Kallen
The HBO fight card this Saturday night in Dallas, TX is a surprisingly good one. Eight of the nine “A” fighters on the card are undefeated. Although only a couple of their opponents are also undefeated, the fights look to be pretty competitive.
My eyes will be focused on the main event. 31-0 Mikey Garcia puts his WBO Featherweight title on the line against former champ 33-2 Juan Manuel Lopez. The 25 year old champ won his belt five months ago when he stopped Orlando Salido in the 8th round at Madison Square Garden. He destroyed Salido, dropping him a total of 4 times. This is his first defense of the title.
Lopez is a hard-banging 29-year old Puerto Rican southpaw who has been around the block a few times. He won his first title back in 2006 when he stopped Jose Alonso to claim the vacant WBO Latino super bantamweight belt.
He moved up to featherweight in 2010 and KOed Steve Luevano to win the WBO title in that division. He had two epic battles against Orlando Salido, losing both by knockout. Considering that Garcia beat Salido so emphatically–he looks like the easy favorite.
Boxing is a hard sport to bet on, however. On any given night, one man can have an off night at the same time his opponent is having the best night of his career. Those are the nights that end up in colossal upsets.
Size-wise the two men line up very close. Height and reach are just about the same. Numbers of rounds fought are not too disparate (146 for Garcia and 158 for Lopez) and they can both take a man out with a single punch. Their KO ratios are both in the 80+% range and whichever man lands the hardest shot first is capable of dictating the action.
It is hard to imagine this one going the distance. Garcia is on a 9-fight KO streak and Lopez hasn’t fought to a decision in almost four years. These men are used to short excursions in the ring. Their sparring sessions are usually longer than their actual fights.
If Lopez has his head screwed on right, this could be a war. Think Hagler/Hearns. He has had two fights already this year, winning both by knockout. He loves nothing better than devastating his opponent and flattening him.
Mikey Garcia is not his typical foe. He is a rising star in the P4P ratings and is not going into this one to lose. When a man has not tasted defeat–he has no appetite for it. Losing is not an option. Lopez has his work cut out for him.
The co-main event is also a good one. Undefeated 25-year old Terrence Crawford risks his 20-0 record against Mexico’s Alejandro Sanabria, who has only lost once and that was 10 fights ago by decision. This is his first fight outside of Mexico and he wants to impress American fight fans. Since we know so little about him, it’s hard to predict the outcome. He packs a solid punch so Crawford can’t take him lightly.
I will also be looking for Vanes Martirosyan to get his 33rd win. No losses so far and there is no reason to suspect that Ryan Davis will be the man to upset the apple cart. At 34 years old and with a record of 24-10, it would be the upset of the century if he beat Vanes. They are in two different classes.
Davis is a half-foot shorter, has been stopped cold two out of his last three fights, and his greatest moment was almost six years ago when he went the distance with Zab Judah. He has been beaten three times since then and scored wins against guys like 3-14-1 Jeremy Parks. And he didn’t even stop Parks. They fought to a decision despite the fact that Parks has been KOed eight times.
Martirosyan should have an easy time of it.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen