5 keys for Josesito Lopez
Plotting a path to victory against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
A victory for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez against Josesito Lopez on Saturday in Las Vegas may seem guaranteed to many people. But it is far from that.
Even though the WBC junior middleweight champion is the clear favorite, his supremacy is not that overwhelming. Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) will have to put together an intelligent strategy in order to avoid surprises, while Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) will have to pull off yet another upset by defeating the prohibitive favorite.
In these five keys, we analyze the tools available to Lopez as he attempts to craft a victory on Saturday.
Jab and balance
|Lopez doesn't have a reach advantage, but he is taller. Against a stronger opponent, he will have to set the limits on Alvarez with a consistent jab and then move his head so it can never be found in the same spot twice. This will have to be his first key to survival. |
|This should be the ABC of his whole strategy. Lopez is lighter, so he should move laterally to drive the slow-moving Canelo crazy. Using the entire ring will enable Lopez to tire and frustrate his opponent. He will also be able to withstand the first half of the fight, a period in which the champion will try to set the tempo. |
|There will be periods during the fight in which Lopez will find himself cornered against the ropes, without the chance to sidestep or back off punches. In these moments, he will have to use his crossed guard, which confounds and complicates his opponents' hooks, the main power tool in Canelo's arsenal. |
|Step back, counterpunch. Step to the side, sneaky punch to the chin. Punch on the way back and change steps waiting for the right moment to unleash the combinations to your opponent's face. Lopez's offense will be based on his counterpunching. This will be his strategy. For this, he will have to find the right distance and look to connect to the chin of Alvarez with overhand rights. |
Save your energy
|In a long fight, the lighter fighter owns the advantage. That's why Lopez will have to save and administer his energy if he wants to hit the gas pedal after the seventh round, when Canelo's physical strength begins to fail. It is possible that the strategy of the challenger could be very well defined beforehand. There will be six rounds in which he will carry Alvarez around through the entire ring, avoiding a frontal battle, and a second half where he will look for his opponent's chin time after time. |
Bernardo Pilatti is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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