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What next for Luis Alberto Lopez after destruction of Michael Conlan?

Image: What next for Luis Alberto Lopez after destruction of Michael Conlan?

By Jake Tiernan: IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) put on an impressive performance last Saturday night, destroying the hometown fighter Michael Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) by a fifth round knockout at the SSE Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The two-time Olympian Conlan was as crafty as ever, trying to stay outside to avoid the powerful incoming fire from Lopez, but he couldn’t keep him off.

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In the fifth, Lopez dropped Conlan with a perfectly timed right uppercut that finished him. Conlan’s corner threw in the towel, which wasn’t needed because h wasn’t going to get up from that shot.

Lopez could still nail Conlan with huge uppercuts thrown from a long distance with maximum power to hurt him. Although the 29-year-old Lopez missed a lot of his punches, he didn’t get frustrated and stop throwing.

More importantly, Lopez didn’t lighten up on the power of his shots. He kept throwing with 100% power so that the shots he did land did damage to Conlan.

Options for Luis Lopez

  • Leigh Wood: This fight isn’t happening because the newly crowned WBA featherweight champion says he wants Josh Warrington next at the City Grounds in Nottingham. Wood’s promoter Hearn also mentioned wanting Warrington for him. There are some excellent fighters at 126 for Lopez to fight, but some of them, like Wood, won’t fight him. Eddie Hearn, the promoter for Wood, made it clear last Saturday night that they want Josh Warrington, a guy that Luis Alberto Lopez just beat. That shows you the respect Hearn has for Lopez. He won’t dare throw Wood in with him and watch him lose to the talented Mexican fighter.
  • Robeisy Ramirez: The best option for Luis Lopez to fight next would be WBO champion Robeisy Ramirez, the two-time Olympic gold medalist. That would be a tough fight for Lopez because Robeisy is incredibly talented, hard to hit, and has pinpoint accuracy.  There’s no one better at 126 than Robeisy right now, and that says a lot.
  • Rey Vargas: WBC 126-lb champion Vargas is coming off a loss to O’Shaquie Foster in a failed bid to capture the vacant WBC 130-lb title.
  • Josh Warrington: Lopez already beat Warrington last December in a fight that should have resulted in Josh being disqualified for the flagrant fouling he did throughout the later stages when he became desperate.
  • Nick Ball
  • Ruben Villa
  • Raymon Ford
  • Isaac Dogboe

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Lopez too powerful for Conlan

Carl Frampton: “I don’t think there are options. He puts you in a position that you don’t want to be. It would have been nice for Mick [Conlan] to stay on the outside and try and box this guy,” Frampton said to BT Sport Boxing.

“When Mick was on the outside, this guy [Luis Alberto Lopez] was in the center of the ring, lunging in, jumping in, and covering [space].”

Steve Bunce:  “You don’t win championships by staying on the outside.”

Frampton: “This guy is such an effective fighter in what he does. Mick was landing some decent shots here, but no effect on him. Look at his [Lopez] face afterward. He had a mark under his eye. It was from a clash of heads. He’s such a hard man.

“Mick at stages was boxing brilliantly. Every time he’d do something good, this guy would throw back. Look at those shots. They’re coming from the back of the room.”

Bunce: “The big uppercuts are great [from Lopez], the big lunging uppercut and the final uppercut [in round five] was sublime. Carl is right. He moves his feet and makes you work. He was making Mick go flat out there, and the kid was throwing.

“Compared to Mick there, the kid [Lopez] was working at five percent, but he was making you work, tiring you out, catching, and he took some full-blooded shots. He took some full-blooded shots, Lopez, but he did not flinch.”

Frampton: “I said to Buncey after round one, ‘This is going to be a hard night for Mick.’ I mean, after round two, you’d think he did ten rounds already. His face was a mess.

“That was a really clever, nice shot [the fifth round uppercut from Lopez that knocked out Conlan], and it was a planned shot. He didn’t just throw it. He’s a good fighter.”

Bunce: “That’s the key, what Carl said there. Don’t be fooled there by this guy [Lopez] crossing his legs, throwing big looping lefts, big looping rights. Don’t be fooled by that. That shot there was beautifully timed and exquisitely executed. That was a quality shot.

“Any of the finest stylists in the world would be happy with finishing a guy with that type of shot. Listen, the other two Mexicans that are above him and have a bit more experience that have been in with more world class fighters. Just have those three fight each other in a round-robin.

“Who knows what we’ve got with this thing? I’ve got to be honest with you. This guy stunned me tonight with how good he is. That’s a transformed fighter.”

Frampton: “You made a statement early on. He’s a world champion, but he may not even be the best featherweight in Mexico. He could well be. He’s an excellent fighter, but he just shows you the conveyor belt of unbelievable fighters that country produces, especially in the lower weight.

“The Warrington fight was close. I had it a little bit wider than Ricky had it. Lopez looked good in the early stages against Warrington, and then Warrington came back and won some rounds. It was a close fight, but I felt Lopez definitely won it.

“Tonight, that was an improved performance. I’m not saying that Mick is a better fighter than Josh Warrington. He’s a more awkward fighter, a more difficult fighter to fight than Josh Warrington, but this kid made it look easy.”

Bunce: “Josh Warrington is a good fighter, and that was a flat-out Josh Warrington, making it a really tight and a really close fight. If Mick Conlan doesn’t get caught with that uppercut, maybe he goes a few more rounds. Maybe he finds a bit of rhythm.

“We need to tap on it, and Carl tapped on it straight away. Trying to stay on the outside, using your skills, and being slippery. That was never going to work against Lopez because he doesn’t do things in a conventional way.

“Sometimes, we treat the expression ‘unorthodox’ like the guy doesn’t know how to stand up. No, it just means he’s different.”

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