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Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Joet Gonzalez – preview & prediction for tonight on ESPN+

Image: Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Joet Gonzalez - preview & prediction for tonight on ESPN+

By Dan Ambrose: IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez will be making a voluntary defense tonight against the formidable warrior Joet Gonzalez in the headliner on ESPN+ at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

The preliminary portion of the card will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET with the main card starting at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Luis Lopez is coming off a big fifth round knockout win over 2012 Olympian Michael  Conlan last May in a one-sided fight. Before that, Lopez was fouled like mad in his twelve round majority decision over IBF 126-lb champion Josh Warrington in Leeds, England, last December.

Although the judges scored it a majority decision, it looked like should have been an 11-1 type of victory for Lopez, as he totally dominated Warrington, who got away with murder in terms of roughhouse tactics with head-butting, rabbit punching, shoving & hitting to the backside. It was a surprise that the referee didn’t disqualify Warrington because he looked like a glorified MMA fighter.

The big-punching Lopez  (28-2,16 KOs) is obviously the favorite in this fight, as Joet (26-3, 15 KOs) has a history of losing when he steps up against high-caliber opposition. Gonzalez’s three defeats have come against these fighters:

– Emanuel Navarrete
– Isaac Dogboe
– Shakur Stevenson

Joet, 29, was competitive in his fights with Dogboe & Navarrete but looked completely overmatched in his loss to Shakur. That wasn’t even remotely competitive, as Gonzalez was way too slow to land shots, and was he basically carried by Stevenson.

It looked like Shakur let Gonzalez survive for the full 12 rounds in their fight in 2019. It’s difficult to know if Joet has improved since that loss because his victories have come against lesser opposition against these guys: Jeo Santisima, Miguel Marriaga, and Enrique Vivas.

To really know if Gonzalez has learned from his losses, he’d have to at least prove himself against these contenders: Otabek Kholmatov,  Raymond Ford, Mauricio Lara, Arnold Khegai & Ruben Villa.

It’s doubtful that Joet Gonzalez could beat any of those fighters unless he caught one of them weight-drained, as we saw with Lara losing his rematch with British fighter Leigh Wood, whom he’d previously obliterated in their first fight.

Lopez vs. Gonzalez – prediction

Luis Lopez will dominate Joet Gonzalez, beat him up, knock him down a few times, but win a one-sided twelve round unanimous decision. Gonzalez has a good enough chin to last for the full duration, but he won’t be competitive against Lopez because he lacks the talent.

The promotion of the Luis Lopez vs. Joet Gonzalez event hasn’t been what you’d like to see for this fight, but it might not have been worth the money spent to market it to the hilt like other fighters.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said that he wants to match Luis Lopez against WBO 126-lb champion Robeisy Ramirez in a unification soon.

Arum didn’t say when he wants to make that fight, but one gets the sense that he will let it marinate more before he makes that fight. Putting that fight together now wouldn’t make sense because neither of them are household names in the U.S. with casual boxing fans.

Xander Zayas vs. Roberto Valenzuela Jr.

In the co-feature bout on tonight’s card, junior middleweight contender Xander Zayas (16-0, 10 KO), who Top Rank is really high on, will face the serviceable Roberto Valenzuela Jr (21-4, 20 KO) in a showcase fight scheduled for ten rounds.

Zayas is still being protected, so we’re likely not going to see him cut his teeth against quality opposition until he fights for a world title. Given how easy to hit the 21-year-old Zayas is, Top Rank needs to groom him for another three to five years before they take the chance of throwing him in with the likes of Tim Tszyu or Brian Mendoza.

If they were to put Zayas in with either of them right now, it would likely end badly for the Puerto Rican fighter. His defense isn’t up to par for him to fight those guys without getting knocked out.

Other fights  on tonight’s Top Rank card:

Emiliano Vargas vs. Alejandro Guardado
Omar Aguilar vs. Julio Luna
John Rincon vs. Bryan Ismael Rodriguez Rivera
Jamaine Ortiz vs. Antonio Moran
Ruben Villa vs. Brandon Valdes
Tiger Johnson vs. Ricardo Quiroz

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