Steven Luevano vs. Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Rogers Mtgawa is about as good a double-header as you’ll see on HBO in this day and age.
It pits 3 rising contenders and one veteran warrior together on what is surely to be a fun night of boxing.
For those of you that aren’t the familiar with the lighter weight classes, Steven Luevano is the 28 year-old WBO featherweight champion sporting an impressive record of 37-1-1, with 15 victories coming by way of knockout. This southern California based southpaw is coming off a tough fight against Bernabe Concepcion in which Concepcion would be disqualified following a knockout punch coming after the the seventh round bell. All three judges would have Luevano losing on the cards by one point leading up to the stoppage.
At one point in time, Juan Manuel Lopez was considered to be the future of the featherweight division.
His most recent battle with the tough as nails, Rogers Mtgawa left many boxing pundits scratching their heads as to whether Lopez was really as good as they had originally hoped for. I tend to think that he is and that Mtgawa just happens to be one of those rugged individuals that can give even the most infuriated grizzly bear a run for it’s money.
Sporting an unblemished record of 27-0, with 24 victories coming by way of knockout, Lopez is definitely considered the puncher going into this featherweight title bout.
He’ll be moving up from the 122 pound division which I feel is a great move for the young contender being that consistently draining down to make an artificially lower weight class serves no real purpose in the long run. Lopez belongs at the featherweight limit and regardless of the outcome of his fight with Luevano, he should stay at 126 pounds.
The line-makers have pegged Lopez as almost a 5-1 favorite over Luevano which I find fairly disrespectful to the Mexican-American fighter. While the Puerto Rican in Lopez will undoubtedly experience the huge hometown advantage going into this bout, once the initial bell rings there are only Lopez, Luevano, and referee Benny Esteves Jr. in the ring to dictate the outcome.
On the undercard of the main event, we’ll be seeing the highly-touted, quick-fisted Yuriorkis Gamboa squarring off against Tanzanian, Rogers Mtgawa.
At 16-0 with 14 knockouts, the Cuban featherweight in Gamboa has been considered as possibly being the most physically gifted prospects in boxing. His quick combinations and explosive power have deemed him as one of the most exciting fighters to keep an eye on today.
Rogers Mtgawa is no slouch when it comes to entertainment as this crazed brawler has engaged himself in “Fight of the Year” candidates the last several years with his bouts against Tomas Villa (2008) and Juan Manuel Lopez (2009). Will 2010 be another instance in which Mtgawa is mentioned in a FOTY type of affair?
Alot of intelligent fight fans are predicting that either Gamboa completely dominates and outclasses Mtgawa with his speed or that it’s going to be one very long night for both guys in which blood will consistently be spilled.
Listed as an 11-1 favorite over Mtgawa, the line-makers have spat in the face of anyone even hinting at the notion that Gamboa can lose this fight.
From what I’ve seen of Rogers, he is most definitely not coming to Madison Square Garden to simply collect a paycheck. Win, lose, or draw… this fighter nicknamed “The Tiger” comes to take his chunk of flesh in the process.
HBO is definitely starting of it’s 2010 with a bang as I expect some early 4th of July fireworks this coming Saturday.