Manfredo Jr. vs. Lopez On Saturday

By Boxing News - 05/02/2008 - Comments

manfredo223353535.jpgBy Aaron Klein: Super middleweight contender Peter Manfredo Jr. (29-5, 14 KOs) goes up against Luis Lopez (14-12-1, 6 KOs) on Saturday night at the Coeur d’Alene Casino, in Worley, Idaho. Manfredo Jr., 27, a former star from The Contender reality television series, has taken his limited talent far beyond what more talented fighters have achieved in the super middleweight division in recent years.

Despite his seemingly club fighter style of fighting, Manfredo has beaten excellent fighters like Scott Pemberton, David Banks, Joe Spina, Miguel Angel Espino, Frankie Randall, among many others. Manfredo has been good at beating the B-class fighters that he’s been put in with, but when facing A-class fighters, like Joe Calzaghe, Jeff Lacy and Sergio Mora, Manfredo has shown his limitations, coming out on the losing end each time. He never got a chance to prove what he could do against Calzaghe, because the referee made a quick stoppage of the fight after a brief flurry from Calzaghe in the 3rd round. It was a disappointing stoppage, because Manfredo had looked good in the first couple of rounds and was just beginning to warm up in the fight.

The worst part, though, was the fact that at the time of the stoppage, Calzaghe had missed almost all of the punches in his brief flurry in the 3rd round, yet the fight was stopped anyway with Manfredo covering up and blocking virtually all of the punches that Calzaghe was throwing his way. It’s not to say that Manfredo could have beaten Calzaghe, because he clearly was dealing with a formidable opponent in Calzaghe, but it would have been exciting to see what Manfredo, a traditionally strong finisher, could have done against him if the fight had gone into the later rounds.

Not having a lot of power or speed to speak of, Manfredo has had to rely exclusively on his high pressure and volume punching to beat fighters that he would normally not able to compete against. His recent December 2007 fight with former IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy, was no exception as he met Lacy’s power punching with a non-stop barrage of punching that gave Lacy all kinds of problems in the fight. Indeed, Manfredo appeared to have done enough to get the decision. At the least, the fight should have been scored a draw rather than a victory for Lacy. It was Manfredo who initiated most of the action in the second half of the fight and he was able to score repeatedly with accurate shots to the head of Lacy.

As it turned out, Manfredo was given the business and lost what should have been a winnable fight for him. There was no rematch, something that you’d have thought would have been offered to him considering the closeness of the fight and the many fans who felt that Manfredo won the bout. Instead of complaining about it, Manfredo Jr. showed his class and moved on, letting the outcome go without lingering on it like some fighters would have done if in a similar situation. Since that time, Manfredo, in a stay busy fight, wiped out Shane Benfield in a sixth round TKO in March 2007.

As for Saturday’s bout with Lopez, this is another stay busy fight for Manfredo, who hopes to land another title shot at some point in the future. Though his low ranking, rated # 15 in the WBC, may be a bit of a problem. However, Manfredo has the name recognition from his time on The Contender as well as his high visibility fights on ESPN and his title shot against Calzaghe. This more than makes up for his lack of rankings and vaults him much higher than many other higher ranked fighters that would likely be more deserving of a title shot by virtue of their rankings.

Clearly, Manfredo needs to knock off a top 10 fighter or two, to ensure that he gets another title shot and doesn’t slip further in the rankings. He can’t continue to fight C and low B-class fighters and hope that he can stay at the top. He’s got to get this kind of opposition behind him and turn his sights towards someone like Edison Miranda, Jean Pascal, Alejandro Berrio and Allan Green, fighters that he matches up well against in my view.