By Jake Donovan
Shortly after tearing his last title defense, Angel Acosta hoped to end 2018 with an undercard appearance on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s DAZN and Madison Square Garden debut last December.
That opportunity never came about, but the knockout artist from Puerto Rico will gladly settle for a consolation prize—his own headlining act on the new streaming platform.
Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com of a 108-pound showdown in place between Acosta and former titlist Ganigan Lopez. Their bout will top a March 30 DAZN livestream from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.
The bout will mark the third defense of the junior flyweight strap Acosta (19-1, 19KOs) acquired in a Dec. ’17 knockout win over Juan ‘Pinky’ Alejo. The feat came on the undercard of the final fight in the legendary career of Miguel Cotto, the former four-division champ and who serves as Acosta’s co-promoter along with Golden Boy Promotions.
Two defenses comprised of his 2018 campaign, scoring knockout victories over former tltlist Carlos Buitrago last June and Abraham Rodriguez in his most recent bout last October.
The entirety of Acosta’s title reign comes on the heels of his lone career loss, a 12-round decision defeat to the excellent Kosei Tanaka in May ’17. The title fight marked the lone time the now-28 year old slugger was forced to go the distance, although Buitrago came within just over a minute of lasting the full 12 rounds in their battle last June in Puerto Rico.
Mexico’s Lopez (35-8, 19KOs) enters his second attempt at becoming a two-time junior flyweight titlist, a fitting scenario since it took the same number of tries to win his first title.
Having cut his teeth at strawweight, Lopez—who held a Silver title at the weight but never managing a shot at a full title—moved up in weight following a May ’12 knockout loss to Denver Cuello. A five-fight win streak propelled him to his first title fight, only to fall short in a 12-round decision to countryman Pedro Guevara in their July ’15 clash.
Guevara went on to lose his title in a controversial decision at the hands of Yu Kimura, whom Lopez would unseat in their March ’16 battle on the road in Japan. One successful defense came of his reign—a 12-round points win over Jonathan Taconing—before suffering a heartbreaking majority decision defeat to Ken Shiro in May ’17 in Japan.
Their rematch was far more conclusive, as Lopez suffered a 2nd round knockout loss in a failed bid to regain his title last May. The 37-year old rebounded with a points win over countryman Ricardo Rodriguez in their Telemundo-televised headliner last November.
For the moment, it remains unclear whether the March 30 DAZN livestream will at all overlap a Top Rank on ESPN telecast that same evening. Oleksandr Gvozdyk will make his first light heavyweight title defense in the ESPN-televised main event, likely versus France's Doudou Ngumbu.