By Jake Donovan
On a busy fight weekend, there’s a strong argument to be made that Showtime possesses the most entertaining main event of the lot.
Fun is exactly how a must-win scenario between two fighters should be described, as Josesito Lopez and Marcos Maidana clash in a welterweight battle at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Showtime televises the bout, for the first time in network history going live on both coasts (10PM ET/7PM PT). A strong co-feature also comes in a super welterweight clash between Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo.
Lopez hasn’t won since his upset win over Victor Ortiz, which came nearly one year ago and set up the biggest payday and fight of his career. It also served as his most recent fight and loss, a crushing fourth round stoppage at the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in an ill-advised move up the scales to the super welterweight division.
Maidana, long serving as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, found himself in a transitional period. The Argentine proved himself as one of the best 140 lb. fighters in the world but has struggled since moving up to the welterweight division. A humbling loss to Devon Alexander was shaken off with a thrilling knockout win over Jesus Soto Karass to breathe new life into his career.
It stands to reason that tonight’s winner deserves a title shot. It also stands to reason that tonight’s loser puts his career in limbo.
Who will prevail and who will be forced to rebuild? Read on to see how the Boxingscene.com staff believes tonight’s action will go down.
PREDICTIONS – JOSESITO LOPEZ vs. MARCOS MAIDANA
“I think Josesito Lopez may not be 100% back from his TKO loss against Canelo Alvarez. He has had time off but let's not forget he was losing badly to Victor Ortiz before breaking his jaw so I am not sold on him at 147. The same can be said about Maidana as well but I think he will pull out the UD.”
- Ryan Burton (Maidana by decision)
“To me, this fight is more of a question of how effective Maidana can be at welterweight. Lopez is who he is, be it at 140 or 147. The wild card is whether or not Maidana’s power has in fact followed him up the scales. He won’t outbox anyone at this weight, so it’s a matter of whether he can snatch their will. Canelo was big enough (and talented enough) to do that against Lopez. I don’t see Maidana enjoying that same degree of success, leaving Lopez to eke out a decision in a give-and-take battle.
- Jake Donovan (Lopez by decision)
“Maidana vs. Lopez figures to be a dandy. I expect the fight to start slow and build momentum as it goes. Each guy should have their moments but I like Maidana's power to be a key factor in pulling out a split-decision victory.”
- Chris Robinson (Maidana by decision)
“Maidana Dec. Lopez: If Lopez were a big puncher, or a little bit quicker, I'd like his chances more here. I like them a lot anyways, just not enough to take him. Maidana has seen a lot of quality and speed has been his undoing. Lopez has some but not enough to hold off the rugged Argentine.”
- Cliff Rold (Maidana by decision)
“Maidana TKO9 - Josesito has enough heart for two fighters but he'll be outgunned in this one. I expect Lopez to try to box early on but he'll eventually be drawn into a war. Maidana's power will be too much for Lopez to handle. Maidana can take Lopez's punches and I think eventually Maidana's attack wears down Josesito late in a thrilling affair.”
- Luis Sandoval (Maidana by stoppage)
“Maidana TKO8. As tough as Lopez is, I don't feel he has much of a chance against an eveil version of the Argentinean puncher, which I expect to appear in the ring on Saturday night. Lopez is with the wolves here, and it's not a smart move by his team to begin Josesito's comeback from this type of fight. Lopez will be slowly overwhelmed by Maidana hard-punching and then succumb to the power of El Chino. Maybe a couple of knockdown and a cut-induced or it's-time-to-save-him-from himself type of stoppage. It'll take longer than in the Alvarez fight, but at the end, Josesito will be found on a wrong end again.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Maidana by stoppage)
Totals: Marcos Maidana 5, Josesito Lopez 1
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox