Can Master Lopez keep Irish eyes from smiling?
Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez, one of boxing’s most exciting fighters, will once again be in the street game, defending his IBF World Featherweight Title against Michael “Mick” Conlan. The two will clash on Saturday, May 27 at The SSE Arena, Conlan’s backyard in Belfast.
Lopez will be defending the title he won last December, beating Josh Warrington in a clash with Leeds, England that was striking in the heart of Warrington country.
Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) from Mexicali, Mexico is a fighter who doesn’t do everything right… except win. He has a slightly awkward style, charges on wild shots, isn’t particularly smart, and his defenses can be penetrated in combat. He was going to be a fighter who was a tough, final test before a title fight for a more naturally gifted kit that usually has tough but winning nights against Luis Lopez in the boxing.
Well, someone didn’t tell Lopez because he beats everyone in front of him and now has a world champion belt around his waist.
What Lopez possesses is an iron will, power and relentless attack that keeps him defeating one opponent after another; rivals who were often considered favourites.
Lopez raised a few eyebrows in July 2020 when he claimed a split decision victory over prospect Andy Vences in Las Vegas.
He then defeated undefeated junior lightweight contender, “King of Stockton” Gabriel Flores Jr., for 10 rounds. over 10 rounds. Lopez then dropped to 126 pounds to beat the undefeated Isaac Lowe in London. Then, in his final fight, his first world title fight, he defeated longtime champion Josh Warrington in his hometown.
Now facing the hugely popular Irish star Mick Conlon (18-1, 9 KOs) in Belfast, it will be Lopez’s sixth match in a row. But in a recent interview, the hard-hitting Mexican was completely unfazed by the prospect of another fight on his opponent’s home turf.
“I’m a road warrior. Traveling to my opponent’s homeland doesn’t impress me,” said Lopez. “I won the world title in Leeds and now it’s time to defend it in Belfast,” he said.
Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs), a 6-year-old pro who is very popular in Ireland, is looking to win his first world title after losing his only title fight against Leigh Wood last March. Conlon, in the style of Lopez, traveled to Nottingham, England to attempt a title fight for Woods but was stopped in the 12th round after a disappointing loss in a fight he was leading on the cards. Conlon is an exciting fighter with plenty of balls and guts and will give it his all on fight night.
Irish boxing fans will keep him motivated, perhaps the best live crowds in the sport. He will give his best to award his Irish faithful the title of world champion. But is it enough? Not according to Lopez, who has proven he can handle enemy territory.
“The louder they cheer for Michael, the harder I will fight,” said Lopez. “The IBF title will stay in Mexico. May 27 will be a special night for me and Michael’s fans will go home disappointed. I will knock out Michael Conlon.”