A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Marcos Maidana battles Josesito Lopez on SHOWTIME
Marcos Rene Maidana, the former interim WBA junior welterweight champion, is an all-action fighter from Argentina. The 29 year-old debuted in the welterweight division last year and was badly shutout by Devon Alexander. Maidana, best-recognized for his amazing June 2009 slugfest with Victor Ortiz and his 2011 ‘Fight of the Year’ with Amir Khan, will headline a SHOWTIME Championship boxing tripleheader this Saturday, from the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA beginning at 10 PM/ET.
Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs) will battle the upset-prone Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) in a welterweight clash. Plus Alfredo Angulo versus Erislandy Lara for an interim title and Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs) battles Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs).
Maidana isn’t a great boxer in terms of skills. He throws his punches off balance form various angles and slugs a lot. He is willing to take three shots to give off one-two shots. You’re not going to see a lot of finesse counterpunching, head-movement, foot speed, and defensive tactics when Maidana fights. However, you will see devastating power, relentless pressure, and a possible brutal knockout, as 25 of Maidana’s bouts have ended with four rounds.
Against Alexander, Maidana, a slugger, made too many mistakes by leaving himself open and off-balanced against a sharp boxer as slick, quick, and tactical as Alexander. After beating Maidana decisively on points, the St. Louis native went on to win the IBF 147-pound title and has already made one successful defense.
Maidana has won his last two fights and will look for his third consecutive in as many fights against Lopez, whose style perfectly suits him.
“I know Josesito is a great fighter,” Maidana said kindly. “I know he likes to stand and trade and fight. That’s what I do and that’s why it’s going to be such an exciting fight. My plan is to go toe-to-toe. I don’t know what Josesito is going to do, but that’s what I plan to do. Pressure is the key to the fight.”
Maidana promises to be more comfortable at 147, as well as a better, stronger fighter.
“The 147-pound division is where I feel best,” Maidana said. “I didn’t feel that way at 140. Now I’m free and I can eat more. My body is different and you can see the definition.”
Maidana’s new trainer, Robert Garcia isn’t underestimating Lopez one bit.
“We’re training hard for this fight and we know what type of fight we have in front of us,” Garcia said. “We cannot take this fight lightly. We’ve gotten some great sparring in for this fight and I know Josesito and his coach have done the same. We’re actually pretty good friends with Henry (Ramirez). We just know this is a fight that fans are really going to enjoy.”
Lopez will be no easy task as he is upset prone and will definitely push Maidana to the brink. No one expected Lopez, in 2012, to break Victor Ortiz’ jaw and force him to quit on his stool after the ninth round. Lopez gave a strong account of himself against currently unified WBC/WBA super welterweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez when they fought. Lopez simply didn’t have the boxing skills or the power and explosiveness as Alvarez did, but he gave a strong account of himself.
Lopez will be moving down from 154 pounds to fight Maidana at 147.
“When you’re fighting a heavy puncher like Maidana, you have to be smart,” Lopez said. “The move up to 154 pounds helped me now that I’m back at 147. Now I feel I’m a true welterweight. I feel great in the gym; stronger and faster.
“I’m so excited about this fight and I’m the one receiving the punches. I can only imagine how excited the fans are. Years ago before I was at this level I thought, ‘Man, this would be an exciting fight. I would love to get in there and bang with him.’ Now we’re here. It’s a hell of a match-up. It could be the fight of the year.”
Angulo, Lara clash for interim 154-pound title.
In addition to the advertised slugfest between Maidana and Lopez, Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) and Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs) will collide in an all-important ‘interim” WBA super welterweight title fight. Both fighters are age 30 and if they want the big TV fights and the title opportunities, they have to step-up and fight each other.
The Mexican native Angulo has developed into an intriguing TV story. In the months following his brutal sixth-round TKO defeat to James Kirkland in 2011, Angulo, living in the United States with an expired work visa, was detained for more than six months before being released last summer.
Angulo has won his last two bouts and appears eager to step inside in the ring against Lara, a former Cuban amateur boxing standout.
“This is my third fight after my time off and conditioning-wise I’m feeling like my old self,” Angulo said, “feeling like I used to feel. There’s no doubt I’ll be in better condition than I was for my last two fights. There was just too much time off. Now, I’m in a rhythm. It’s going to be a very good fight, the bull versus the matador. I have a lot of respect for Lara. He’s a really good fighter and he wants to show he’s the best, but he’s going to have to come out and fight.”
Lara’s biggest performance was his controversial 12-round decision loss to Paul Williams in 2011. Unfortunately for Williams, he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident and will never box again. Last year, Lara knocked out Ronald Hearns, the son of the legendary Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns, in one round. Lara also beat Freddie Hernandez on points before fighting Vanes Martirosyan to a technical draw after nine rounds.
Lara expects to perform a wonderful boxing display of skill against Angulo.
“Style-wise this is a perfect fight for me because Angulo likes to come forward,” Lara said. “It’s the classic boxer versus the puncher. I expect to put on a boxing clinic, so you can expect a smart fight from me.”
There is a rumor that a Lara win could place in the sweepstakes to fight Miguel Cotto on September 28, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
”There’s always a lot at stake when I fight,” Lara said. “I know I can’t look ahead or take Angulo for granted. He is my total focus now. After I win on June 8; I can start thinking about a world title shot again. Angulo is a good fighter. I give him a lot of credit. He always comes to fight. I’ve worked very hard and am preparing for the best Angulo possible. The fact that I’m favored to win means nothing. Once the bell rings, it doesn’t matter what the odds are.”
To help Angulo prepare for Lara’s fast boxing style, Angulo will be working with Virgil Hunter, the trainer/godfather of undefeated former unified WBC/WBA super middleweight champion and Super Six: World Boxing Classic tournament winner, Andre Ward.
”I want to thank SHOWTIME and Golden Boy. This is going to be a great fight. We have great respect for Lara, who’s a great Cuban fighter, but we know what a big chance this is for us. I believe Angulo has been judged a little harshly; after all, he has only had two fights after spending nine months in detention. That’s tough for a fighter to be away that long. His first comeback fight lasted a minute. The last fight, he went 12 strong rounds and closed the show. He’ll be even better on June 8.”