By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotions will be presenting another pay per view event Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canelo Alvarez looks to continue his march back into title contention ever since he lost his WBC and WBA Junior Middleweight titles to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Weigh ins: Canelo Alvarez 155 vs Erislandy Lara 155
At least three bouts will be televised on the pay per view and all three should be competitive. The following is a preview of the pay per view event.
Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3) vs. Francisco Vargas (19-0-1); Junior Lightweights
This bout is a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico boxing match and pits a former title holder in Juan Manuel Lopez against a rising prospect in Francisco Vargas.
Lopez is two years older than Vargas but is still near his athletic prime at the age of thirty one. He will be giving up about one inch in reach and about two and a half inches in height to Vargas.
Both boxers have a strong amateur background. Lopez started boxing when he was ten years old and competed in the Pan American Games and the 2004 Summer Olympics. Vargas qualified for the 2008 Olympics in the lightweight division.
Both boxers have considerable power, but Lopez holds the edge in knockout ratio, though most of his knockouts have come in lighter weight classes. Lopez has thirty one stoppages to his record while Vargas only has thirteen.
In terms of quality opposition Lopez holds the edge, but he is not a consistent boxer and tends to struggle when he faces elite competition. Lopez scored a big second round TKO over Daniel Ponce De Leon in his last bout, and also holds victories over Mike Oliver, Rafael Marquez, Bernabe Concepcion, and Gerry Penalosa. His losses have come to Orlando Salido twice and a fourth round TKO loss to Mikey Garcia in June of last year.
Vargas is a rising prospect who’s opposition has been slowly getting better. His biggest victories to date include Branden Bennett, Jerry Belmontes, and Abner Cotto. Lopez represents a step up in competition for Vargas, but it’s a step up that he should be able to handle.
Abner Mares (26-1-1) vs. Jonathan Oquendo (24-3); Featherweights
Abner Mares was once considered a top pound for pound boxer. He cleared out the bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions and boxing pundits everywhere were calling for a super fight between himself and Top Rank promoted Nonito Donaire. However, a devastating first round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez in August of 2013 put a halt to that talk and Mares is now looking to get back to his winning ways.
Mares had a successful amateur career on the international circuit and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Oquendo does not have the international amateur experience of Abner Mares.
Mares is two years younger than Oquendo and will be one inch longer and about a half an inch taller. Oquendo however has more knockouts than Mares. He has stopped sixteen of his opponents while Mares has only stopped fourteen. Only one of Mares’ last five victories have come by stoppage while four of Oquendo’s past five victories have come by stoppage.
Mares, clearly, is the better technical boxer and more battle tested. Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, Vic Darchinyan, and Diosdado Gabi have all tried to beat Mares but have failed at the end.
Oquendo on the other hand does not hold any major victories over top notch opponents. He has defeated the likes of Jose ARaiza, Eden Sonsona, and Guillermo Avila, but has also lost to Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Juan Manuel Lopez.
Mares hasn’t fought in nearly a year and Oquendo would be smart to try and test his chin early. If Mares is able to get over that crushing knockout loss a year ago and is able to withstand the power of Oquendo he should win easily. The longer the fight goes the greater the chances of Mares winning the bout.
Canelo Alvarez (43-1-1) vs. Erislandy Lara (19-1-2); Junior Middleweights
On paper this looks to be the most competitive pay per view fight of 2014. Alvarez has already had forty five fights despite only being twenty three years old. Lara, eight years his elder, has only twenty two professional fights but has vastly more amateur experience than Canelo.
They are close to the same height, but Lara is a southpaw and will have a large four and half inch reach advantage over his opponent. Lara is a former world amateur champion in the welterweight division in 2005, while Canelo won the 2005 Junior Mexican National Boxing Championships and turned professional at the age of fifteen.
Lara has stopped twelve of his opponents, including two stoppage victories in his last five fights. Canelo has thirty one stoppages, and has also stopped two of his last five opponents.
Lara has a good boxing base but can be inconsistent. He defeated Austin Trout by a wide margin in December of 2013 and stopped Alfredo Angulo in June of 2013, but he was also knocked down twice by Angulo in rounds four and nine. He had a draw with Vanes Martirosyan in what has to be considered a disappointing bout for Lara, but has also defeated Freddy Hernandez and Ronald Hearns.
His lone loss came to Paul Williams in 2011 in a fight that many felt Lara won. He also had a majority draw with Carlos Molina in March of 2011.
Lara can either be brilliant in the ring or disappointing, but if he’s anything less than brilliant on Saturday he will lose to Canelo.
Canelo’s lone loss came to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was content on counter punching Canelo and was able to keep his distance against Canelo. Canelo has defeated some quality opponents, including Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, and Alfonso Gomez.
If Lara is able to use the same strategy of Mayweather and counter punch Canelo while maintaining a safe distance he could shock many with a decision victory. But, Canelo looked terrific against Angulo, a boxer Lara struggled with, and he has the skills to win impressively.