Monday, October 12, 2009

Lopez Needs to Rematch Mtagwa

In the sport of boxing, a rematch is due when a bout ends in a very close decision, wherein there is much difficulty of telling for certain who is the victor and who is not. A second meeting of the two fighters will give air on who is much better.

Last Saturday, we witnessed featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez surviving a final three-round assault concocted by the Tanzanian challenger Rogers Mtagwa. It was a fight where Lopez could have lost instead of winning by decision.

Before the fight, a lot of people felt that Mtagwa had no chances of winning against the younger and more powerful Lopez. After the final bell sounded, both men could have possibly won. Lopez was hurting and was gassing out late in the eighth round and Mtagwa did the right thing when the bell sounded for the ninth round – go relentless and berserk on the boy.

Although I believe Lopez racked enough points in the earlier rounds to secure the win, Mtagwa may have did enough to grab a win or at the very least a draw. But that matter leaves to be debated.

One thing that cannot be debated though is that Mtagwa deserves a rematch after putting up a dauntless attack in the last three rounds. Mtagwa staged a late rally where Lopez could have been stopped if the bell didn’t ring in the 12th. Hell, if this was boxing in the good old days, Lopez would not have the wind to fight in the 13th round and Mtagwa would have knocked him out by then.

Unfortunately, Lopez’ handlers do not want anything more from Mtagwa and dismissed the notions of a rematch with the Tanzanian. Business wise, it is quite understandable that they are protecting a boxing prospect’s future. A rematch with such tough guy may not be conducive to Lopez should the Puerto Rican lose if they meet again.

But in the eyes of a true boxing fan, Lopez needs to slug it out with Mtagwa one more time. A rematch with Mtagwa, boxing wise, is a beautiful thing for Lopez in thelong run. See, fans would want to see their heroes slug it out against tough and durable fighters and still come out the winner, with their victories not held in question and their integrity intact.

Lopez may lose the second time around against Mtagwa, but that will only prove that Lopez is willing to take the risk if he wants to achieve greatness inside the squared circle. Most of the heralded fighters lose at some point in their career. Lopez, if he is willing to be great, needs to risk losing in another fight opposite the Tanzanian warrior.

And if Lopez wins, then that only proves he is the better of the two, which is still another good thing in boxing, isn’t it?


Tim Harrison

Great article. You make some good points why we need the rematch and why Top Rank doesn't want it. Top Rank is already scouring the earth looking for someone besides Mtagwa or Celestino Caballero to match Juanma up with. I think a rematch is definitely in order, but would not be opposed to seeing Juanma in with Gamboa (TopRank controls both fighters, so it's a win-win for them), then maybe a tune-up, or rematch if the fight with Gamboa is close, then tune up before fighting Mtagwa again. Juanma is too young to be spoiled so soon. (See the career of Miguel Cotto). Great piece. Stop by my blog sometime...

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