by Darren Boyd
Fight Fans, a huge fight is coming up Sat June 15, 2013 here in Dallas, TX at the American Airlines Center and broadcast on HBO. Dallas used to be a hotbed for boxing back in the 1980's and early 1990's. Now days we get a big fight here every 5 years at best. Anyone remember Evander Holyfield fighting here in 2006? So this is a huge boxing event featuring featherweights Mikey Garcia 31-0 26 KO's vs Juan Manuel "Junma" Lopez 33-2 30 KO's. Lets profile the fighters.
Mikey Garcia out of Ventura, California is a heavy handed puncher with a crowd pleasing style. One of the rising young stars of the sport. He is 25 years old and just getting into the prime of his career. He is a right handed fighter but does switch to a left handed stance at times. Although he is 31-0, he has only fought 1 high caliber fighter in Orlando Saldio, a man Juanma knows all too well, back in January. Mikey dominated that fight putting Saldio down 4 times before a head butt stopped the action in Round 8. Juanma represents a huge step up in competition for Garcia.
Juan Manuel Lopez from Rio Padres, Puerto Rico was billed as the next Felix Trinidad. He burst on the scene in 2008 with a 1st Round KO of Ponce De Leon to win a title. He is an attacking Southpaw that makes for fun fights to watch. At Age 29 he is at a cross roads in his career though, In April 2011, He fought Orlando Saldio who was 34-11 in Puerto Rico in what was supposed to be a stay busy tune up fight in front of his fans. Unfortunately for Junma, he was knocked down in the 5th and stopped in the 8th. After an easy comeback fight the rematch with Saldio took place. Saldio dominated the action but Lopez knocked him down in the 5th. Saldio knocked down Junma in the 10th and the ref stopped the fight. Afterwards Lopez claimed the ref had a gambling problem and Lopez was suspended for a year. Lopez has fought twice in 2013 against "Soft", boxing term, competition.
The fight on Saturday night should be full of fireworks. Can Garcia handle the step up in competition? Is Junma damaged goods and on the downside of his career? Will Juanma step up and get a huge win that he needs to revive his career? On paper, it looks like Garcia should be able to stop Junma in the later rounds. This should be a fun fight with lots of exchanges and power shots. I'm predicting Garcia by 8 Round KO. I will be there Saturday Night to cover this event for The Sports Narrative