Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Alvarez vs. Lopez
By: William Holmes
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to stage a card featuring one of your top talents on the same night and in the same city of when your rival is staging a PPV card.
Golden Boy Promotions doesn’t seem to mind that a good portion of boxing fans will be tuning into the Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez fight over the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez fight, but at least Golden Boy is not putting this fight on PPV. The fact the fight is on cable television instead of pay-per-view will cause the casual fan to turn on the Golden Boy card instead of the Top Rank card.
The following is a preview of the two title fights on the Golden Boy promoted card.
Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7) vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon (43-4); WBC Featherweight Title
It’s nice to see De Leon get a title shot after barely losing to Adrien Broner. Some who observed the fight felt De Leon deserved the nod.
The 32-year-old southpaw always gives a spirited effort in the ring, and this fight with Jhonny Gonzalez will likely keep the crowd on its feet.
De Leon competed for Mexico in the 2000 Olympics and is a former WBO Super Bantamweight champion. He won the WBO belt in 2005 over Sod Kokeitgym by unanimous decision. He successfully defended the belt eight times before losing it by a 1st round TKO to Juan Manuel Lopez.
De Leon has been fighting some of the best in the lighter weight classes, including Lopez, Eduardo Escobedo, Rey Bautista, Gerry Penalosa, and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
De Leon has solid power, as 35 of his 43 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He’s riding a two-fight winning streak since losing to the seemingly invincible Gamboa in 2011. Those victories came against Omar Estrella and Eduardo Lazcano.
Gonzalez is the current WBC featherweight champion, and the former WBO bantamweight champion and IBO featherweight champion. Gonzalez is thirty years old and began boxing professionally at the age of eighteen. He won his first major title in 2005 against Rantanchai Sor Vorapin.
Gonzalez has considerably more power than De Leon, as 45 of his 52 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. Like De Leon, Gonzalez has also faced some of the best the smaller weight classes have to offer. He lost to Toshiaki Nishioka, Penalosa, Israel Vazquez and some lesser known fighters earlier on in his career. He’s beating the likes of Marc Johnson, Fernando Montiel, Hozumi Hasegawa, and Elio Rojas.
One thing that jumped out at me about Gonzalez is that he is currently riding a 12-fight win streak and has not lost since 2009. Amazingly, Gonzalez has also stopped 11 of his last 12 opponents. That’s impressive.
This fight may be the best fight of the night on Saturday for Golden Boy Promotions. I expect Gonzalez’s win streak to continue with a victory over the always tough Ponce De Leon.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0) vs. Josesito Lopez (30-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
There’s a very good reason why this card is not on PPV, and that’s because the main event looks on paper to be a major mismatch.
Lopez has spent a large majority of his career fighting in the junior welterweight division. He bumped up in his last fight to the welterweight division to fight Victor Ortiz, and won a thrilling ninth round TKO when he broke the jaw of his opponent. Ortiz appeared to have been winning the fight, but Lopez showed tremendous heart and an ability to take a solid punch.
Lopez’s opponent, however, has never been beaten, and he’s been looking better and better in each of his fights. Canelo has 29 KO or TKOs on his record out of 40 victories. Three of his last four fights have ended by TKO. They came against durable but not overly impressive opponents such as Alfonso Gomez and Kermit Cintron. He dominated an aged and over the hill Shane Mosley in his last fight.
One knock against Canelo is that he has yet to fight a highly ranked fighter in his prime, in that fighter’s weight class.
Lopez is a good fighter, but he’s not a highly ranked opponent, and he’s fighting two weight classes above his normal weight. Lopez has lost twice since 2008, a majority decision to Edgar Santana in 2008 and a split decision loss to Jessie Vargas in 2011. He has beaten Victor Ortiz and Michael Dallas Jr., two impressive victories.
But he does not stand a chance against Alvarez.
Canelo will win on Saturday, and he’ll win it easily. It will be a victory for Lopez if he can just make it competitive.