A nice welter clash headlines an interesting bill at Home Depot Center in Carson, CA this Saturday with Marcos Rene Maidana and Josesito Lopez squaring off for the WBA Intercontinental strap.
Also scheduled is a light middle scrap between Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo for the Interim WBA crown and a USBA light middle title contest between Demetrius Hopkins and Jermell Charlo.
Argentine body-puncher and former WBA light welter beltholder Maidana, 33-3 (30), is coming off two straight victories since losing to current IBF welter king Devon Alexander in February, 2012 and should be ready for a real tear-up again Lopez.
Lopez, 30-5 (18), will be looking to get back to the form that saw him take apart ex-WBC welter strapholder Victor Ortiz a year ago for the WBC silver 147 pound title.
The Riverside, California man could have to shake off any lingering effects from his failed bid to unseat WBC light middle champion Saul Alvarez this past September, in which Lopez down in rounds two, three and four before suffering a fifth round stoppage.
This bout should be a thriller, with Lopez back down at a realistic weight and Maidana in with an opponent he won't have to go looking for.
If it doesn't go the distance, look for Maidana to come out as last man standing but if Lopez can weather the inevitable storms and stay active for all 12 rounds, he could pull off the upset.
Cuban southpaw stylist Lara, 17-1-2 (11), and Mexican brawler Angulo, 22-2 (18), just might produce the fight of the night as the light middles offer a classic boxer vs. puncher contrast.
Lara will be looking to regain some of the luster he lost last time out when he was held to a nine round technical draw against Vanes Martirosyan in November during a contest he was expected to win.
Angulo has won two straight as he continues a comeback from a stoppage loss against James Kirkland and a seventh month long detention for immigration issues but is perhaps facing his most skilled opponent to date.
Expect Angulo to put his trademark pressure on Lara, who will be looking to make the Mexican pay for each mistake he makes.
If Lara can't hurt Angulo or take away his confidence, the Cuban will have a very difficult night but Lara come out on top if he can use movement and angles to produce 12 rounds of frustration for Angulo.
Hopkins, 33-2-1 (13), vs. Charlo, 20-0 (10), is a real crossroads match but definitely is more important for Hopkins, who's USBA 154 pound belt is on the line.
The 32 year old Hopkins has battled back from a split decision WBO light welter title shot loss to Kendall Holt in 2008 and a dropping points verdict to Brad Solomon for the WBA international welter strap in 2011, and could finally be at his best weight.
He'll have to be as Charlo, just 23 years of age, has moved handily through the usual suspects, first as a welter but as a light middle over the last two years.
Hopkins definitely will have the edge on experience and will probably want it more as his career will be in deep trouble if he loses this one.