Juan Manuel Lopez and Rogers Mtagwa Headline at MSG Today!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 10, 2009) Photo © Chris Farina / TOP RANK    
Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez, 24-0 (22), is on a 14 straight knockout streak while his opponent Rogers “Tiger” Mtagwa, 26-12 (18), out of Philadelphia via Tanzania, would like nothing better than a shoot out! Forty knockouts in fifty victories between them mean’s someone will fall! It all takes place this Saturday night (tonight) at the Madison Square Garden, for Lopez’ WBO super bantamweight title.

The last time Lopez fought at the Garden he won a 6 round decision. He has scored all knockouts since. It will be his third appearance there. Mtagwa, since coming to the US in 2000 has been in his share of wars like November of 2008 when he came off the canvas against Tomas Villa in the 9th round to score 3 knockdowns of his own in the 10th to earn the stoppage. It was only the second time since his US debut he made the super bantam limit and has only had one fight this year.

Ranked #9 based on the Villa fight, Mtagwa has been working hard sparring at the James Shuler Gym in West Philadelphia with some heavier opponents per his manager Joe Parella. “We’ve had a couple of bigger sparring partners knowing Lopez is a puncher,” said Parella. Mtagwa’s trainer is former middleweight contender Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts of Philadelphia. His promoter, J. Russell Peltz may not have kept Mtagwa busy, but he is responsible for getting this fight for him. For the 30 year old Mtagwa it may be his last chance at a title. “He is in good shape and has a punchers chance,” said Parella.

Having covered some of his Philadelphia fights I can tell you Mtagwa comes to fight. He is one of the nicest and mildest people out of the ring, but inside it’s a different game. He must get past the first couple of rounds. Only future IBF featherweight champion Valdemir Pereira of Brazil and Orlando Salido, in a title eliminator have stopped Mtagwa. Former WBO super bantamweight champion Agapito Sanchez had to settle for a majority decision over Mtagwa. You know your in a fight when you are in with the heavy fisted Mtagwa. Lopez will be a solid favorite though coming off a lackluster win in June stopping Oliver Lontchi of the Cameroon, in Atlantic City.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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