Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rogers Mtagwa: Round By Round

We're almost set for Juan Manuel Lopez to headline the Latin Fury 12: Island Warriors pay-per-view by defending his WBO super bantamweight title against Rogers Mtagwa. A few early knockouts on the undercard have slowed down the action from the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, with footage of an earlier victory by local favorite John Duddy filling the extra time.

Lopez is 26-0 with 24 KOs, and is making the fifth defense of the belt he won with a first round knockout of Daniel Ponce de Leon in June of 2008. He has scored 13 knockdowns in his last six fights, and no one has been able to take him the distance in a 12-rounder.

Mtagwa is originally from Tanzania but now calls Philadelphia home. The tale of the tape shows him with a four-inch reach advantage despite being slightly shorter than Juanma.

As this is a Top Rank pay-per-view, we get another video promo for the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight.

Mtagwa makes his way to the ring first to a mostly indifferent reaction from the pro-Lopez crowd. Juanma gets plenty of love as he makes his way out, and plenty oif Puerto Rican flags are visible in the stands.

Michael Buffer performs the introductions with his usual flair, and we are set for a scheduled 12 rounds of boxing.

Round 1

Mtagwa comes out as the aggressor but Juanma quickly puts him off-balance. There's a quick tie up as Mtagwa comes charging in. A clubbing right hook by Lopez makes his foe stumble a bit. Another right hook finds the mark. Juanma scores to the body as Mtagwa misses a wild right. The right hook is landing at will, and Lopez hardly even needs his left hand right now. Mtagwa goes down late in the round, but it's correctly ruled a slip.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 2

Mtagwa is having all kinds of problems with Juanma's hand speed and his balance has been poor as well. CompuBox had Rogers landing only 10 percent of his punches in Round 1. Two left hands score for Lopez as both men swing away. Mtagwa bears down and actually lands tow right hands, but counters knock him back immediately. Mtagwa tries to mug his foe in close as Lopez throws back to the body. Juanma eats two right hooks before the bell, but he laughs as he goes back to his corner.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 3

A straight left opens up the round for Juanma. Mtagwa charges in and is met by a flurry. Lopez feints and connects with a sharp right hand. Both men throw and land with right hands and the fans are into it. They are each eating bombs as they stand and trade. Juanma pushes his foe back into the ropes as he works the body. It's a brawl again in the center of the ring. Lopez is cut near his right eye. Wild round that may have gone to Lopez, but he doesn't need to fight this fight.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 4

The ref has declared that Juanma's cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads. Mtagwa slips down in the early going. Both men have displayed serious chins thus far. Here we go again as they trade in the center of the ring. Lopez gets the better of it thanks to some mean left hands. Mtagwa scores with two left hooks along the ropes. Wild swing and a miss by Mtagwa. Right to the body forces Lopez back. Juanma trying to keep his distance right now.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 5

Mtagwa certainly doesn't get cheated on any punch. The announcers discuss Juanma's low punch output, especially when it comes to jabs. Lopez finds the mark with two straight lefts, followed by a right hook. Mtagwa goes down, but he doesn't look hurt. They resume fighting and quickly get tangled up. Mtagwa stays in Juanma's face, but Lopez makes him eat a left hand. Big right hand by Mtagwa smacks Lopez in the face. Lopez thunders a right hook home, though Mtagwa is mostly undeterred.

Franchise: 10-8 Lopez

Round 6

There's still some debate about the knockdown from the last round, but the ref scored it that way. Mtagwa bulls his way forward and is met by a hook and a headlock. Mtagwa comes over the top with two right hands. Lopez switches stances so he can stick and move. Right hook inside by Juanma. Mtagwa effectively goes to the jab. He stalks but Lopez is moving very well. Things heat up with 30 seconds to go with a few nice exchanges.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 7

Lopez strafes Mtagwa with left hands and keeps his legs moving. Mtagwa leans in and connects with a big right hand along the ropes. They stand and trade and Mtagwa is able to knock Lopez back with more straight rights. Lopez doesn't look too hurt but he ate some nice shots. Both men score with hooks, and Mtagwa follows with another right. Lopez got lured back into a brawl and paid for it this time.

Franchise: 10-9 Mtagwa

Round 8

Juanma gets his right hook untracked as Mtagwa continues to come forward. Uppercut by Mtagwa is answered by a right hook from Juanma. One-two by Lopez and a right hook before they clinch. Big miss by Juanma and they trade again. The ref is busy and has to separate them several times. Each man stumbles as power shots crash home. Mtagwa is showing some serious heart right now.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 9

Mtagwa's corner urges him on. We'll see if anyone fades down the stretch. Both men miss and Mtagwa stumbles Juanma with a hook. Short left by Lopez but Mtagwa slugs him right back with right hands. The ref warns Juanma for low shots. Lopez is clinching again when Mtagwa moves in. Quick right by Mtagwa and Lopez tries to answer. Right-left by Lopez and Mtagwa scores right at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Mtagwa

Round 10

Lopez goes right to work and catches Mtagwa with several left hands. No one has ever taken Juanma past 10 rounds before. Body shots from both men look low. Mtagwa mugs his opponent on the inside. Lopez goes to the body and head with left hands. Right hand by Mtagwa and another on the inside. Uppercut by Mtagwa and Lopez answers. Lopez staggers and Mtagwa goes down, but it's a slip. Wild last minute of that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Mtagwa

Round 11

However this ends, it's been worth the price of admission. Lopez is backpedaling and Mtagwa lands a vicious right. Left hand by Lopez as he gathers himself. The crowd gets behind Juanma with 90 seconds left in the frame. Left by Lopez and the ref steps in. Right hand by Mtagwa and a straight left by Lopez. He walks through some uppercuts to connect to the body and head. Left hook and a right hand by Mtagwa have Lopez in trouble but the bell bails him out.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 12

We'll see if Juanma was hurt by those last two right hands, because he was controlling the 11th round until those landed. Mtagwa comes forward and lands a big right. Juanma digs in and lands a right hook. Mtagwa stumbles into the corner, swinging wildly. Lopez looks like he's in trouble as Mtagwa charges in. He smothers Mtagwa to buy some time. Both men stumble as they trade. A minute and a half to go. If Mtagwa wasn't so wild, he may have knocked Lopez down already. Sixty seconds to go. Right hand by Mtagwa. Lopez smothers him again in the corner. He has to hold just to stay up. Left hand staggers Lopez but he stays up. He makes it to the final bell in a thrilling show of guts by both boxers.

Franchise: 10-8 Mtagwa

Franchise: 115-111 Lopez

The judges score it 116-111, 114-113 and 115-111 for the winner by unanimous decision... and still WBO super bantamweight titleholder... Juan Manuel Lopez.

Steve Farhood gets a word with Mtagwa, who felt like he won the fight. He certainly won over some of the fans, who were almost 100 percent pro-Juanma at the start of the fight. Mtagwa says Lopez was very tired, and though he gives Juanma credit for being a good fighter, he doesn't think the champ hits particularly hard. Not surprisingly, he'd like a rematch.

For his part, Lopez says Mtagwa was very strong and fought as if he had nothing to lose. Juanma admits to being fatigued in the final round but feels he did enough to control the early action to win. Bob Arum isn't so willing to give Mtagwa credit, and the fans let him hear it a little bit. Lopez wants to fight the best guys at 126.

Al Bernstein states that there was an error reading the scorecards, and it's actually a unanimous decision for Lopez.

Posted by The Franchise

No comments: