Over the past few weeks all I read about is this Mayweather-Pacquiao fiasco. Well that talk is not going to go away, however here to temporarily save the day is HBO’s Boxing After Dark. HBO will broadcast the first big fight card of the year this Saturday night, with a pair of good featherweight fights. The card should be a sensational one, as two of the best young stars in boxing face major upgrades in competition.
The first bout will feature highly ranked Cuban fighter Yuriorkis Gamboa (16-0; 14 KOs) against a very tough contender in Rogers Mtagwa (26-13-2; 18 KOs) for Gamboa’s WBA featherweight title. Do not be confused with Mtagwa’s record though. Yes he is a big underdog in the fight; however he has proved to be a very tough opponent and has some very good fights (wins and losses) on his resume. Most notably, a hard fought decision loss last October to champion Juan Manuel Lopez (who will be featured in Saturday’s main event). Now with that being said, Gamboa is the real deal and a great young fighter. The Cuban defector has only been fighting in the US since late 2007, but has made up for lost time. He is a big puncher, with tremendous style and speed. His style can get him in trouble though, as it sometimes leaves him off balance, which has put him on the mat. This fight should prove to be a difficult test for Gamboa, however the result will remain the same. A win here will help Gamboa attain main event status and a major title fight before the end of this year.
In the main event Puerto Rican superstar Juan Manuel Lopez (27-0; 24 KOs) will fight Steven Luevano (37-1-1; 15 KOs), for Luevano’s WBO featherweight title. Juan Manuel Lopez is considered by many to be one of the best young fighters in boxing today. For most of his career he fought at junior bantamweight, even winning a title, now he looks to continue his career at featherweight. Luevano, an American who fights out of Mexico, is looking to defend his WBO title for a fifth consecutive time. Luevano is a technical fighter who seemingly does not want to stand in the middle of the ring trading fists, which is what Lopez wants to do. Lopez likes to draw in his opponent and unload. Many analysts believe that this will be an easy victory for Lopez. He is extremely strong, quick and has some of the fastest most powerful hands in all of boxing. Luevano could hang around in this fight, perhaps using his experience to frustrate the young Lopez. I do not see that happening though. Lopez is just way too good.
QUICK TAKE: As much as it stings for boxing, Andre Berto made the correct decision by pulling out of his 1/30 bout with Shane Mosley, due to the disaster in his home country of Haiti. Berto is one of boxing best young and comers and I really think that he could have beaten Mosley. You will not see a fighter with quicker hands then Berto in all of boxing. I just hope he can get back into the ring soon and that his family and fellow countryman can overcome the tragedy from this past week.