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Dec 15th
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Home Boxing JANUARY PREDICTIONS:
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JANUARY PREDICTIONS:

convicted_artist_05Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Steven Luevano
It is not a coincidence that after Juanma shows some chinks in the armor agaisnt Rogers Mtagwa, they are matching him agaisnt someone with a noted power deficiency.  The fight is still a risk, though, as Luevano's skills should prove difficult.  He is likely the most talented (prime) fighter that Lopez has faced, and will provide a test with not only toughness, but aptitude as well.  There is a reason, however, that I mentioned the power first, as I believe this to be the deciding factor.  Although Luevano may be the bigger man in division, he will be outgunned, and eventually Lopez will take over and force his will upon the defending champion.  Lopez by decision or perhaps late round TKO.  Luevano will likely save enough guile to last til the final bell, but little else.
 
Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Rogers Mtagwa
I cheer for this fight even getting made.  Not only will it likely be a barnburner, but fighters like Mtagwa who give a hyped prospect (Juan Manuel Lopez) a tough fight, are often not rewarded for their efforts.  Instead Mtagwa is gettign another shot at a belt, against a fighter he may have an even better chance of defeating.  Lopez had not shown any chin deficiencies prior to his fight with Mtagwa, but Rogers still got to him late, and hurt him badly.  Gamboa, on the other hand, has tasted the canvas, and will likely do so again in this fight.  This is Gamboa's chance to prove that he is the superior of Lopez by proxy.  If he can dominate Mtagwa with boxing skills, and win by wide decision or even KO, the line is drawn to face Lopez.  However, I think Mtagwa is just one of those fighters, who cannot either dominate a journeyman, or lose in a dominating fashion to a P4P great.  Like former 3-time Light heavyweight champion Marvin Johnson... when he fights, it is almost always life or death, no matter the opponent.  Somehow I feel Mtagwa will again take too long to get started, as Gamboa's skills and power will humble him initially.  The first two thirds of the fight are Gamboa's, then he hangs on as Mtagwa comes on.  Gamboa by unanimous decision.
 
These two fights are taking place on the same card, hoepfully to set up an even more interesting battle down the line.  No matter who wins, people will want to see the winners against each other.  The goal is obviously Lopez vs. Gamboa, however, even if Luevano and Mtagwa both pull off the upsets, they will be recognizable names to any boxing fan, and it will quickly be the biggest fight at 126lbs. 
 
P.S. How good does Martin Honorio look now?  He has wins over Luevano and Mtagwa, as well as a recent upset win over previously unbeaten prospect John Molina.  He clearly fights up to the level of his competition.  Somebody get this guy another title shot.  Anyone can walk into a shot against Robert Guerrero.  No shame there.
 
Shane Mosley vs. Andre Berto
I covered this briefly, but here is my official prediction.  There are so many question marks surrounding these two, that it would be interesting even if it wasn't likely to be entertaining.  However, both men usually do entertain, so this is one of those to tell your fair-weather boxing fans about.  Mosley has been inconsistent in the past years, and he is in his late thirties.  He is also coming off the longest layoff of his career, and in the later years, that is either the best thing for you (Hopkins, Klitschko), or the worst thing (Lewis, Tyson).  Did Berto have a tough time against Collazo because virtually everyone does, or because we got a little too excited about him as a prospect?  Can either man hurt the other?  I personally feel we are watching a belt-holder against an all-time great, and the talent gap will make all the difference.  Mosley will not have lost a step, and has too much at stake (Pacquiao, Mayweather, etc.) to risk having an off night.  I also think Berto will provide the perfect style for Mosley to showcase his offensive skills.  Berto has more moves than Margarito, so once he realizes he is outgunned, he will still be able to avoid some punches, but his offense will be largely ineffective, and he'll get chopped up as the rounds go on.  Mosley by wide unanimous decision, in a fight more entertaining than the scorecards reflect.
 
Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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