Home Columns JuanMa Lopez vs. Steven Luevano Preview & Prediction

JuanMa Lopez vs. Steven Luevano Preview & Prediction

Will Juan Manuel Lopez continue his winning ways in the featherweight division against champion Steven Luevano?

On January 23, 2010 Juan Manuel “JuanMa” Lopez and Steve Luevano will square off for the WBO Featherweight Championship at the WaMu Theater in the “Mecca of Boxing,” Madison Square Garden.  Lopez, the current WBO Super Bantamweight Champion will move up a weight class to challenge Luevano for his WBO Featherweight title in what promises to be a fast paced and exciting battle of the southpaws.

Juan Manuel “JuanMa” Lopez

  • 27-0 (24 KO)
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Reach: 69”
  • WBO Super Bantamweight Champion
  • Last 5 Fights: Lopez has had a stronghold on the Super Bantamweight division for about three years now, and in his last five fights, he has faced and defeated quality challengers including the veteran Gerry Penalosa, the previously undefeated Olivier Lonchi, and a decision victory over Rogers Mtagwa who achieved the rare accomplishment of taking JuanMa the distance and giving him a real scare along the way

Steven Luevano

  • 37-1-1 (15 KO)
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Reach: 69”
  • WBO Featherweight Champion
  • Last 5 Fights: Similar to Lopez, Luevano’s last 5 fights have been successful title defenses (including one draw) against quality opponents. All of his last 5 fights have gone the distance, aside from his most recent victory by disqualification over Bernabe Concepcion.

JuanMa Lopez vs. Steven Luevano Preview:

It is clear by statistics alone that Luevano does not have the same penchant for the knockout as Lopez. He has a tendency to go the distance, outpointing opponents and jabbing his way to crafty decision victories which will be no easy task against Lopez who has knocked out 24 of his 27 opponents, most notably Sergio Manuel Medina in 2008. Lopez, who hails from the same hometown (Caguas, PR) as Miguel Cotto will be moving up from the super bantamweight division which he has dominated thus far to challenge for Luevano’s Featherweight title.

The one major question in this fight is how Lopez will bounce back from his tough decision win against Mtagwa. This win was far from his most impressive. Despite the fact that he only won a decision over Mtagwa and was expected to be slightly more dominant, he gained a great deal of experience in the fight and will come into his fight against Luevano as a smarter fighter. Not only this fight, but also his win over Gerry Penalosa, a true veteran of the sport has allowed Lopez to gain experience against all opponents, including smart, tactically sound veterans. Lopez should be determined to perform more dominantly in this upcoming fight and he will need to be a smart fighter to figure out and defeat Steve Luevano.

Luevano is a patient, skilled and methodical fighter and will not put himself into a position to get knocked out early by Lopez. Luevano has been dominant in the Featherweight division and is in a position where the most competition he can get is by facing an explosive smaller fighter who is willing to move up and try his luck in the Featherweight division. It seems that in all Luevano’s fights, he is just one step ahead of his opponents and makes better tactical decisions in the ring. Luevano will definitely need to bring his tactical “A game” in order to avoid getting knocked out by the powerful Lopez and allow the fight to go to the scorecards.

Luevano has stamina, speed and a good ability to read opponents but it will be tough for him to fend off the onslaught of aggression that Lopez will provide. It should be very interesting to see not only how Luevano deals with Lopez’s aggression but also how Lopez deals with Luevano’s smart, tactically sound boxing.

Lopez vs. Luevano Prediction:

Lopez, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world will face some challenges early from Luevano. As mentioned earlier, Luevano is a skilled boxer and will not put himself in any position to be knocked out early and will make Lopez look slightly unimpressive the first half of the fight. After round 6, Lopez will figure out Luevano’s patient, jab-happy style.  Lopez is a solid fighter with a knack for ending fights with knockouts instead of decisions victories, and expect nothing different here

Lopez will win by a 9th round stoppage. He will turn up the aggression as the rounds progress. Although I predict Lopez winning by 9th round TKO, I feel as if the fight will be close to even on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Lopez will escape with the victory, the WBO Featherweight Belt, and (depending on the outcome of the Gamboa vs. Mtagwa fight), a possible future showdown against the powerful young knockout artist Yuriorkis Gamboa.

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Justin graduated from Temple University in 2009, earning a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management/Business Administration. During his time at Temple, Justin played Varsity tennis, started a club tennis team, was active within his student association, and briefly wrote for the Temple newspaper. Justin has interned in the Community Development department of the United States Tennis Association where he interviewed and wrote tennis related articles for the USTA Middle States Magazine, Net Play. He has also worked for the Madison Square Garden Sports Properties Marketing Department where he assisted with marketing boxing events such as the 2009 Golden Gloves Championships, Cotto vs. Jennings and Cotto vs. Clottey. Justin’s interest in boxing stems back to the early 90’s after discovering the Rocky movies, watching Mike Tyson dominate the Heavyweight division in his prime and getting a subscription to Ring Magazine for Christmas. Justin currently resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania and works as a Tennis Professional and Member Services Representative at a local gym. In his free time, he enjoys sports, drumming, music and traveling in Europe.