Alvarez vs. Lopez: How El Canelo Will Retain Middleweight Title
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Four formidable fighters have attempted to dethrone Saul "Canelo" Alvarez as the World Boxing Council Light Middleweight Champion. They have failed.
Josesito Lopez is the latest challenger, but he will be similarly disappointed in the outcome when he meets the majestic Mexican at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday.
At the ripe age of 22, Alvarez has already compiled a staggering 40-0-1 record, with nearly three fourths of those battles ending in knockouts.
The presumed advantage in power goes to Alvarez in this showdown, but it won't be as easy for him to impose his will and floor Lopez. Earlier this summer at the Staples Center, Lopez proved he can pack plenty of punch even deep into a fight, breaking Victor Ortiz's jaw in the ninth round and rendering him unable to stay in the ring.
While that sort of longevity will serve Lopez well, the fact that he's less of threat to end the fight with one punch does not bode well for his matchup against Alvarez.
It's not the most uneven fight ever, because both men have similarly aggressive styles. Alvarez is just slightly better in every area, including experience over his counterpart, who is six years his senior.
The fact is that Alvarez has fought tougher competition and had more professional reps in the ring may also mean he has more tread on his wheels, but again, he is still so young. What's also scary is that he can continue to get better and stronger, since he's still growing into his body.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Jake Emen, Lopez has struggled to make the climb to middleweight throughout his career, and even fought in November 2007 as a lightweight.
On the other hand, Alvarez will be working to cut weight, which will already put his opponent in a hole by as much as 10 pounds on fight night, according to Emen.
Before the weigh-in on late Friday afternoon, Lopez acknowledged on the Showtime telecast that he was in for his biggest test yet (via NowBoxing.com):
I have to fight the fight of my life to win. I understand that. I'm ready for it...I just want to show it already.
It will be quite a show, and this one should be a rare case where Alvarez does not register a knockout. Ironically, Alvarez's biggest vulnerability in defense of his title will be his defense against the methodical, but powerful jabs of Lopez.
Alvarez is on the verge of being recognized as one of the best boxers in the world, but he must take care of business in another high-profile match as a heavy favorite.
Before the Friday weigh-in, Canelo was translated as saying, "This is my time."
On Saturday night, Alvarez will prove it in taking advantage of the golden opportunity to defend his title for a fifth consecutive outing.
His superior athleticism, agility, and the fact that he's a better technician with more big-fight experience will allow him to hold onto his championship belt in a grueling, 12-round bout.
Prediction: Alvarez by Unanimous Decision.
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