SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win
By Mike Sloan: The other major fight in Las Vegas on Saturday is the Golden Boy-promoted, Showtime-televised battle between Mexican sensation Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and streaking Josesito Lopez. The bout headlines a stacked card inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the victor could wind up hitting a jackpot in his next bout.
If Alvarez, who is an overwhelming betting favorite, topples Lopez like so many expect, a potential showdown with the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, Floyd Mayweather, could happen in the spring. If Lopez is triumphant, there’s no telling what his future will hold but one thing is certain; he’ll land a huge payday against one of the bigger names in the sport.
Though many an expert already thinks Canelo (40-0-1, 29 KOs) has this fight won, the bout isn’t as big a landslide as it appears to be. In fact, Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) has a good shot at pulling off the upset and, considering he has nothing to lose and everybody to prove wrong, he’s as dangerous as ever.
However, SecondsOut.com already knows who will win the contest. So if you want to know who will win between Alvarez and Lopez before the first punch is even thrown, continue reading.
Punching power: If you spoke to most so-called experts, many might convince you that Canelo is some sort of raw wrecking machine. While he certainly has his fair share of knockouts and the dude does hit hard, he doesn’t possess that raw, equalizing power that many of his brethren enjoy. Lopez has even less of a punch than Alvarez. However, what makes them so fun to watch is that they both hit just hard enough to hurt their opponents and, particularly in the case of Canelo, if they have you hurt they slam on the accelerator. Advantage: Canelo
Speed: Lopez is still a virtual unknown within the sport of boxing. Sure, the hardcore fans know who he is but the casual fan probably isn’t aware that he turned Victor Ortiz into a pile of broken bones. He’s a fast fighter and has very good handspeed. Still, Alvarez throws his combos at lightning speed. He moves well in the ring and he throws mostly accurate punches. He won’t be mistaken for a prime Zab Judah, but the resident of Jalisco has great speed and reflexes. Advantage: Canelo
Size: Canelo is only 5’9” though he seems bigger on TV and in person. He’s got a 71” reach. Lopez is a half-inch taller but has a two-inch reach disadvantage. Like always, this category is usually the least important of them all, especially when neither fighter holds a significant advantage over the other. Still, Alvarez is the slightly bigger natural guy and he’s been fighting larger men for a longer period of time. Advantage: Canelo.
Age factor: It seems odd, but Canelo is still only 22-years old even though he’s been fighting professionally for almost a decade. Lopez is 28 and just hitting his prime, which is usually an advantage. However, Alvarez is mature beyond his years and hasn’t yet hit his physical prime. He’s just a kid but he’s an advanced specimen. He’s been in some big fights already and his youth actually works in his favor.Advantage: Canelo
Chin: Alvarez seems to have a granite chin. He’s been in with some hard punchers and has barely even been stung. Lopez is also as tough as they come (can’t recall seeing him taken off his feet) and he’s also faced some heavy hands in his career. Since this category is about as close as they come, it boils down to who will be able to take the other’s hardest punch better and that favors one man. Slight advantage: Canelo
Experience: Though Canelo is just 22-years old, he’s already taken on a plethora of solid competitors. He’s toppled the likes of Shane Mosley (though way past his prime), Kermit Cintron, Alfonso Gomez. Lovemore Ndou, Carlos Baldomir and Matthew Hatton. Granted, that’s not exactly a murderer’s row of elite dudes, but the opposition has been steep enough to give him increasingly better tests along the way. Lopez hasn’t faced any über credible opposition save for Ortiz and the young combo of Jessie Vargas and Mike Dallas, Jr. Those three are quality guys, but Canelo has taken on much better foes. Also, Alvarez has been in the spotlight for quite for some time and his fights have become huge attractions. Advantage: Canelo
Intangibles: Lopez has nothing to lose regardless of what happens inside the ring. He’s somewhat of a late replacement because Canelo’s original opponent, Paul Williams, unfortunately had his career cut short because of a terrible motorcycle accident and then James Kirkland wanted too much money. Lopez is supposed to get pummeled inside the MGM in front of millions of viewers across the globe, but he’s undeterred. Canelo knows he’s supposed to win and that could make him a bit complacent if anything. Also, he badly wants to square off against Mayweather, something he’s mentioned a few times in the weeks leading up to his fight. With that said, he could be overlooking Lopez.
However, Canelo has that “it” quality and relishes the idea of becoming the next Julio Cesar Chavez and he’s not about to lose to a Mexican-American on Mexican Independence Day weekend. Lopez does seem more focused recently, especially since virtually nobody expects him to do well against Alvarez. A hungry, talented underdog out to prove the world that it’s loaded with buffoons is a tough horse to ignore on race day. Advantage: Lopez
The bottom line: Lopez will make this is a much tougher fight than most expect. In fact, he’ll make things very interesting with his quick combos and deceptive power. It’s unlikely that he’ll hurt Canelo or drop him early, but he will be in the fight for at least the first half of the fight to the point where many will begin to worry about Canelo remaining unbeaten. However, Canelo’s overall strength advantage and relentless pressure will eventually start to wear on Lopez. Canelo will begin landing thudding hooks to the body and then switch to Lopez’ head repeatedly. Canelo will get stronger the longer the battle goes on and Lopez will start to wilt under the pressure. Lopez gets knocked onto his knees from a brutal hook to the body late in the fight and he won’t survive. Canelo will unload the entire tool shed and force the referee to step in and pull Canelo off Lopez late in the 11th round. Bank on it.
September 14, 2012