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Thursday, May 16, 2013
High stakes for Maidana-Lopez card

By Dan Rafael

Marcos Maidana, Josesito Lopez, Erislandy Lara & Alfredo Angulo
Fight fans can expect action and drama during Golden Boy's tripleheader on June 8 in Carson, Calif.
There have been a lot of good fight cards over the past couple of months and there are more to come. One of the shows I like the best, even though it won't get as much attention as some of the others, is Golden Boy's tripleheader on June 8.

That Showtime card (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) -- which takes place at one of boxing's best venues, the outdoor Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. -- is headlined by slugger Marcos Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs) of Argentina against Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) of Riverside, Calif., in a welterweight scrap. How can that not be a good fight?

In the co-feature, junior middleweight contenders Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), the slick boxer from Houston by way of Cuba, and Mexican brawler/puncher Alfredo "Perro" Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) square off. And in the opener, a serious crossroads fight, Houston hot prospect Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs) -- who I think highly of -- faces veteran (and Bernard Hopkins' nephew) Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia in a junior middleweight contest.

The fighters in the top two bouts, along with Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya, met the media this week in Los Angeles to kick off the promotion. Here's some of what they had to say about the fights:

• Maidana: "I know [Lopez] likes to stand and trade and fight. That's what I do and that's why it's going to be such an exciting fight.

"My plan is to go toe-to-toe. I don't know what Josesito is going to do, but that's what I plan to do. Pressure is the key to the fight. I'm feeling great. I've been in Oxnard, Calif., for over a month already. I love training there. The weather is great and it's where my coach [Robert Garcia] is. It's going to be a great fight and I'm going to defend the honor of Argentina.

"The 147-pound division is where I feel best. I didn't feel that way at 140. Now I'm free and I can eat more. My body is different and you can see the definition."

• Lopez: "When you're fighting a heavy puncher like Maidana, you have to be smart. The move up to 154 pounds [for a loss to Canelo Alvarez in September] helped me now that I'm back at 147. Now I feel I'm a true welterweight. I feel great in the gym -- stronger and faster.

"I'm so excited about this fight and I'm the one receiving the punches. I can only imagine how excited the fans are. Years ago before I was at this level I thought, 'Man, this would be an exciting fight. I would love to get in there and bang with him.' Now we're here. It's a hell of a match-up. It could be the fight of the year.

"This is a fight I have to win. It's a fight that keeps me on the map. This is where I want to be and I'm working my ass off."

• Angulo: "This is my third fight after my time off [because of immigration issues] and conditioning-wise I'm feeling like my old self, feeling like I used to feel. There's no doubt I'll be in better condition than I was for my last two fights. There was just too much time off. Now, I'm in a rhythm.

"It's going to be a very good fight, the bull versus the matador. I have a lot of respect for Lara. He's a really good fighter and he wants to show he's the best, but he's going to have to come out and fight. He may think he's just going to box, but he's going to fight."

• Lara: "There's always a lot at stake when I fight, so I know I can't look ahead or take Angulo for granted. He is my total focus now. After I win on June 8, I can start thinking about a world title shot again. Angulo is a good fighter. I give him a lot of credit. He always comes to fight. I've worked very hard and am preparing for the best Angulo possible.

"The fact that I'm favored to win means nothing. Once the bell rings, it doesn't matter what the odds are. It's what you do in the ring that counts. Style-wise this is a perfect fight for me because Angulo likes to come forward. It's the classic boxer versus the puncher. I expect to put on a boxing clinic, so you can expect a smart fight from me.

"Obviously, the most important thing is for me to win, but I want to put on a great show for all the fans."

• De La Hoya: "We should have called this 'High Stakes' because you have the welterweight division where you have Floyd Mayweather. The winner between Marcos Maidana and Josesito Lopez automatically puts himself in line and at the front door knocking to fight the very best.

"What's most exciting for Alfredo Angulo's team is that he's just now putting everything together and really learning the craft of boxing under [trainer] Virgil Hunter. It's going to be very exciting to see him fight such an incredible fighter like Erislandy Lara."