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21 APRIL 2018

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Maidana and Lara Stop Game Foes in California

Lopez hits the target in Carson
Lopez hits the target in Carson

By Jason Pribila: On the day that Arturo “Thunder” Gatti was inducted into the boxing Hall of Fame, Showtime Sports stuck gold by televising two fights that featured four blood and guts warriors.


When match-ups are announced in sports there are certain ones that seem to stand out in bold print. Promoters, fans, commissioners, and TV executives salivate when the ink has dried on the paper. However, as in all sports, what looks great on paper is not always appealing when seen through the lens in HD.


The main event in Carson, California featured what seemed to be a can’t miss action fight between Marcos Maidana and Josesito Lopez. After nine minutes of action, fans were made sure their seatbelts were adjusted securely.


Recently Lucas Matthysse has been anointed the biggest puncher in Argentina. On Saturday night, Marcos Maidana reminded us all that he has not gone anywhere.


Maidana landed powerful shots early against Lopez. Rather than wilting, Josesito abandoned his game plan to box, and decided to bite down on his mouthpiece and fight fire with fire. The strategy worked, and soon Lopez was imposing his will, and it was Maidana who looked like he was the fighter that belonged in the weight class 7 pounds south of welterweight.


Lopez landed a big left hook to Maidana’s hip that welcomed the Riverside, CA native to attack upstairs. There were moments that he could not miss, and Maidana was fortunate to get the minute respite between rounds. As he did against Victor Ortiz and Amir Khan, Maidana responded.


In round six of an even fight, Maidana finally landed a big right upstairs that sent Lopez to the canvas. Smelling blood, Maidana attacked and Lopez was defenseless to the oncoming fire fight. As Maidana pounded away against his stationary target, referee Lou Moret had decided that he had seen enough, and stepped in to halt the brawl at 1:18 of the round.


“I definitely thought that was how the fight was going to go,” explained Maidana.


“The one that he hit me in the left hip did hurt”, he confessed. “But (trainer) Robert Garcia helped me out.”

The always game and honest Lopez had a differing opinion.


“I thought the stoppage was a little premature. I got stunned, I got a little buzzed. I could fight my way out,” Lopez explained. “If I’m not down for the count, let me fight through.”


With the victory, Maidana has guaranteed himself another important, big money fight. Nothing will be decided until the dust clears after the upcoming Paulie Malignaggi – Adrian Broner title fight. Maidana’s style will match well, and he will a stern test for whomever comes out victorious in that scrap. However, there was only one name that Jim Gray mentioned as a possible foe.


Countryman Lucas Matthysse.


Argentina filled a soccer stadium when they hosted middleweight champion Sergio Martinez’s last fight. It would be an even bigger event if the two flame throwers faced off.


As of now, Maidana confirmed, “There is nothing concrete. There hasn’t been an offer made.”


That offer won’t be made for a while as Matthysse is set to fight Danny Garcia. Garcia is going to make that fight, right?


As for Lopez, the kid again proved that he is must-see TV. He bailed Showtime out twice and performed well as a fill-in opponent against Victor Ortiz and Canelo Alvarez. But, after three wars in a row, it would be nice to see him get a confidence building fight before he is matched again against the elite.



Lara vs Angulo:

Unlike the main event, when this fight was signed, I felt it was a cash-out fight for Angulo, and an opportunity for Lara to look spectacular and deserving of a shot against Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout, and eventually Canelo.  As I do many times, I’m happy to admit that I was wrong.


Lara, one of the crowned jewels of the Cuban amateur system stepped in to face the always game Angulo, who despite only two losses, events outside of the ring seemed to take something away from a guy that was considered “can’t miss” only a few years ago.


In the early rounds, Angulo’s straight ahead, bullish style seemed tailor-made for the slick, counter-punching southpaw.  Then in round three the bull began to land against the matador.  Lara soon found himself against the ropes, and soon realized that was not a good place to be.


In round four, the fight was again being contested in the real estate owned by Angulo.  A left hook landed flush, and Lara found himself on the canvas for the first time as a professional.


Lara answered gut-check time by again using movement and a straight left to stop Angulo in his tracks.  He seemed to pull ahead by landing the cleaner, and more importantly, the eye-catching punches.


The ebb and flow of the fight continued.  Lara excelled in the middle of the ring, but he was not physically strong enough to prevent Angulo from coming forward.  The pressure was also beginning to take a toll on Lara’s ability to use his legs to escape.  This became evident when the Cuban tried to escape laterally to his right, but his best laid plans moved him right into the path of another Angulo left hook.   Lara was now forced to pick himself up vertically for the second time of the fight.


Smelling blood, and a career rejuvenating victory, Angulo was the aggressor as round ten began.  Lara again stood his ground and continually found a home for his straight left.  The Cuban fired a combination when Angulo suddenly turned his back and retreated to his corner.


One of the straight left hands that Lara landed broke the orbital bone over Angulo’s right eye.  Instantly his head swelled in the same fashion that Fernando Vargas’ did against Shane Mosley.   Unlike Vargas, Angulo decided that the injury was too painful and sever to want to continue.


The battle was suddenly called to a halt as the referee had no choice but to wave off the fight at 1:50 of round ten.


At the stoppage Lara was up 86-85 on two cards, while Angulo was up 86-83 on the third.


This was a fight that enhanced both men’s credentials.  Lara showed he could bounce back from adversity.  He’s a precise counter puncher that will be a tough  out for anyone in the division.  Angulo’s rep will not take a hit for retreating after suffering an injury that would have most likely led to a stoppage by the ringside physician or the referee.  He seemed to regain the “dog” that put him on the map as a rising star in the division.  This is the best that he has looked in a long time.


Showtime was a big winner on the evening, but will they eventually run out of TV dates to accommodate all of these fighters that the public will demand and deserve to see again soon?


Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He could be reached for questions or comments at; or followed on @PribsBoxing.


All pics supplied by Esther Lin/Showtime


June 8, 2013

Lara connects with an uppercut
Lara connects with an uppercut
Angulo's left Eye is badly damaged
Angulo's left Eye is badly damaged
Angulo knocks down Lara
Angulo knocks down Lara
Lara celebtrates win
Lara celebtrates win

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