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Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Manuel Lopez possible for May 11 or 18th

garcia22By Dan Ambrose: Dan Rafael is reporting that a fight between WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (31-0, 26 KO’s) and former two division world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (32-2, 29 KO’s) is in the works for May 11th or May 18th on HBO.

There isn’t a venue yet, but it’s possible that the fight could head to Puerto Rico because that’s easily the best play to stage if they want to attract a large gate. Garcia-Lopez won’t likely draw a lot of boxing fans outside of Puerto Rico unless they stage it in New York where Lopez has a lot of fans.

The 25-year-old Garcia’s broken nose has healed from his 8th round technical decision victory over Orlando Salido last January. Garcia had surgery on his nose to straighten it out after Salido knocked it askew in the 8th round by an accidental head-butt.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes both Garcia and Lopez, told Rafael, “It’s not done yet, but that’s what we’re working on. One way or another that fight ain’t ending in a decision.”

That’s true. One of these guys is going to get knocked out, and I have a pretty good idea who it’ll be.

Lopez has lost two out of his last four fights with both losses coming against Orlando Salido by knockout. After his last defeat by Salido, Lopez was suspended for making some controversial comments about the referee that halted that fight. Lopez’s suspension ended earlier this year, and he’s since come back and defeated Aldimar Silva Santos by a 9th round TKO last February.

Lopez, #5 WBO, has a chance of winning if he can get close enough to land his big shots. The problem is Garcia likes to back away while holding out one of his arms to push at the head of his opponents to keep them from getting near enough to throw punches.

If the referee allows Garcia to shove Lopez all night long, then Garcia should win the fight. Lopez is going to have to be assertive with the referee to make sure that Garcia can’t push him to keep him from getting close enough to throw shots.

This is boxing, not MMA, and Garcia definitely got away a lot of pushing against Salido last January. When Salido would come forward to try and throw punches, Garcia would often push Salido’s head to keep him from getting near enough to throw shots.

When Salido was able to get past Garcia’s shoving arms, he was able to land some nice shots, but he had problems getting past Garcia’s long out-stretched lead arm a lot of the time.

The referee did an extremely poor job of stopping Garcia from pushing, and that obviously had a huge impact on Salido’s game that night. Lopez has longer arms than Garcia, but he’s still someone that likes to get in range to throw hooks. If he’s got Garcia reaching out and shoving his head to keep from throwing punches then it’s going to be a big problem for him.

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