The next potentially great Mexican-Puerto Rican boxing clash is scheduled for Saturday, with Mexican-American WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (31-0, 26 KO) defending his title against Puerto Rican power puncher Juan Manuel "JuanMa" Lopez (33-2, 30 KO).
The historic battles between fighters from the two boxing-rich cultures dates back to the 1930s. But the rivalry is still current because of fighters like Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito's recent battles.
Fans can only hope this fight has as much excitement and drama as some of its predecessors. Here's how you can watch this bout.
When: Saturday, June 15, at 10:45 p.m. ET
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Live Stream: Replay via HBOGO on Sunday (pay service)
Here is a scouting report from HBO analyst and reigning super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward, via HBO Boxing on YouTube.
Let's take a closer look at each fighter in this matchup.
The Book on Garcia
Mikey the Machine
You won't see a lot of talking or braggadocios and flamboyant behavior from the 25-year-old from Ventura, Calif. He has simply plowed through his opponents with reckless efficiency.
He is undefeated, but Garcia hasn't just been winning his fights—he's been dominating them. As of now, not one opponent has appeared to befuddle or have Garcia in major peril.
Here he is destroying Matt Remillard in April 2011.
His 84 percent KO percentage is extremely impressive, but before his masterful performance against Orlando Salido in January, Garcia hadn't faced any major name in the sport.
The fight crowned Garcia with the WBO title and legitimized his prior victories.
Garcia dropped Salido four times in the first four rounds, but he suffered a broken nose from an accidental head butt that halted the fight.
Because it happened in the eighth round, the fight went to the scorecards, where Garcia was up by at least nine points on all three judges' scorecards, per BoxRec.com.
Salido's eye was swollen badly and a stoppage was possible, but it didn't matter. Garcia had proven he is the real deal and ready for the next challenge.
In the Ring
What makes Garcia so tough?
He throws hard, accurate and deceptively quick combinations. His jab-straight-right combination is explosive and can end a night.
Garcia also fights with great balance and composure. He never seems to be hurried or excited. His facial expression is the same when he's finishing an opponent as it is when he's getting up off the stool to begin a round.
At such a young age, he fights like a fighter who has been in the ring for 10 or more years. That should come as no surprise considering he is trained by his brother Robert Garcia, who won Trainer of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
The sport is in Garcia's blood, and his trainer isn't just family—he's also very good at his craft. Garcia is primarily a counterpuncher, but once he finds a rhythm, he will push the action.
Take a look at Garcia talking about his style in this video.
The Book on Lopez
Something to Prove
Things were going well for Lopez until he ran into Salido in April 2011. He was 30-0 with 27 KO, but Salido had his number. The two men punished each other for seven-plus rounds, but Salido would prove to be the toughest.
He stopped JuanMa in the eighth round to win the WBO title Garcia took from him in January.
It was a crushing defeat for JuanMa, but the worst was yet to come.
The two men rematched in March 2012, and Salido stopped JuanMa again. This time it came in the 10th round, but the stoppage was a bit more brutal. A crushing combination sent JuanMa to the canvas in the 10th round.
He got to his feet but could not continue. Lopez was competitive, and perhaps on his way to a decision win in both fights with Salido. But his defensive deficiencies and warrior mentality subjected him to the punches that were his downfall.
Since the last loss to Salido, Lopez has won two tune-up fights by KO/TKO, but this fight will mark his return to the major scene. Can he bounce back and regain his title?
He has a tough task ahead of him.
In the Ring
The one factor in this fight that could weigh in JuanMa's favor is that he's a southpaw. Garcia has never faced a quality southpaw in his career and JuanMa can really punch.
Take a look at this explosive KO in his last fight with Eugenio Lopez. The shot takes place at the 11:13 mark of the video from SB Aztecas Deportes on YouTube.
In the early rounds, the lack of familiarity could create an opportunity for JuanMa. If he can't create some havoc in Garcia's mind early, he could be in for a long night. Lopez's wide punching style plays into Garcia's hands as a natural counterpuncher.
If Lopez is going to have success, he has to rattle Garcia.
Garcia is going to pick Lopez apart and stop him in the middle rounds. His jab will set the tone and create opportunities for his big right hand.
Stylistically, Lopez seems to be tailor made for him. This could be a relatively easy night's work for Garcia. In addition to that, two physically and emotionally draining losses to Salido may have taken some of the steam away from JuanMa.
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