HBO Boxing Preview: Crawford vs. Sanabria, Garcia vs. Lopez


By: William Holmes

Dallas, Texas will be the host of an HBO Boxing After Dark card featuring the WBO Featherweight title defense of Top Rank Fighter Miguel Angel “Mikey Garcia against Juan Manuel Lopez as well as a lightweight bout between rising prospect Terence Crawford and Alejandro Sanabria.

Garcia vs. Lopez is just another bout in the long storied rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico in boxing and the crowd figures to be largely in the corner of Mikey Garcia due to Texas’ large Hispanic community.

The following is a preview of both televised bouts.

Alejandro Sanabria (34-1-1) vs. Terence Crawford (20-0); Lightweights

Terence Crawford is a young and athletic fighter with a deep amateur background who competed in the Olympic trials for the 2008 games and failed to qualify. He’s going to be slightly shorter than his opponent inside the ring but he has spent more time competing in the lightweight division.

Crawford has solid power, he’s stopped fifteen of his twenty opponents including four of the last five. He was last seen in March of this year winning easily against Breidis Prescott at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Prescott was his first real test but Crawford made it look easy against the rugged and durable veteran.

Prescott was Crawford’s first chance on national television and he impressed the HBO executives enough to get another shot on their network.

Not much is known about his opponent Alejandro Sanabria. Sanabria has stopped twenty five of his opponents including three of his past five. He has steadily moved up in weight since turning pro in 2004. This will only be his third fight in the United States as he has spent a majority of his career fighting in Mexico.

His most noted victory to date was over the badly faded Rocky Juarez in February of 2011. His last fight was a close split decision over Nery Saguilan in November of 2012. Other than Juarez Sanabria’s opponents are not well known and do not have impressive records.

His lone loss was to a below .500 Robinson Castelianos in June of 2010.

This is a good test for Crawford to see where he stands in the lightweight division. Sanabria figures to be a tough, but beatable, opponent.

Mikey Garcia (31-0) vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (33-2); WBO Featherweight Title

Juan Manuel Lopez was once a fighter with a lot of promise, but two TKO losses to Orlando Salido badly damaged his stock.

Lopez represented Puerto Rico often in international tournaments and won the Puerto Rican National Amateur championship for five years in a row. Lopez won his first legitimate title in 2008 with a first round TKO over Daniel Ponce De Leon for the WBO Super Bantamweight title. After that victory Lopez went on a tear and dominated nearly every opponent he faced.

He defeated the likes of Cesar Figueroa, Sergio Medina, Gerry Penalosa, Rogers Mtagwa, Steve Luevano (for the WBO Featherweight Title), Bernabe Concepcion, and Rafael Marquez.

His career however has been on a downslide since he was upset by Orlando Salido in April of 2011. Some felt it was a quick stoppage but Salido again proved his dominance with a 10th round TKO over Lopez in March of 2012.

Lopez has since went on to win his last two fights by stoppage but they were against vastly inferior opponents. He has stopped thirty of his opponents for an incredible knockout ratio but his two losses were also by knockout.

If Lopez wants to regain his WBO title he’ll have to protect his chin against a very dangerous fighter.

Mikey Garcia comes from a boxing rich family, but he may be the best professional fighter amongst his relatives. Garcia has comparable power to Lopez, he’s stopped twenty six of his opponents including his past nine opponents.

Garcia had a successful amateur career winning the 2004 National Junior Golden Gloves Championships and the 2005 National Police Athletic League Championships.

Garcia has never tasted defeat as a professional. He won a technical decision over Orlando Salido and knocked the Lopez conqueror down three times before an accidental headbutt stopped the fight.

He’s also defeated the likes of Jonathan Victor Barros, Bernabe Concepcion, Rafael Guzman, and Matt Remillard.

Lopez has faced the tougher competition at this point in his career but Garcia demolition of Salido shows the difference in career paths for both of these fighters. Garcia’s career path is on an upward trajectory while Lopez’s career appears to be on the decline.

Lopez will leave it all in the ring, but it will be Garcia’s hand that’s raised in the end.

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