Luis ‘Venado’ Lopez eager to go to war against Joet Gonzalez in Texas
Luis Alberto Lopez hopes to create his own fireworks on the eve of Mexican Independence Day.
Lopez will attempt to defend his IBF featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez tonight at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The 12-round bout will headline a three-bout ‘Top Rank on ESPN’ telecast (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
At Thursday’s weigh-in, Lopez weighed in at 125.2 pounds.
Gonzalez originally weighed in at 126.4 pounds. He was given a two-hour time limit to make weight or would not be eligible to fight for Lopez’s world title belt. Nevertheless, Gonzalez returned to the scale and weighed in at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds.
Lopez (28-2, 16 knockouts), who resides in Mexicali, Mexico and is currently rated No. 1 by The Ring, last fought on May 27, stopping Michael Conlan in the fifth round. Lopez won the IBF title in his previous fight on December 10, edging Josh Warrington by majority decision.
The Conlan and Warrington fights took place in the United Kingdom. Including both fights, three of Lopez’s last five fights have taken place in the United Kingdom.
Despite being the overwhelming favorite to win, the 30-year-old is not overlooking Gonzalez (26-3, 15 KOs), who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora. Gonzalez has split his last six fights. Gonzalez suffered his first setback as a pro in October 2019, losing by unanimous decision against Shakur Stevenson with the vacant WBO world featherweight title on the line.
Lopez is looking to not only defeat Gonzalez, but also please fans celebrating Mexican Independence Day, which occurs every September 16.
“I am happy to fight on an important date for Mexico and where Joet Gonzalez and I will be representing our country,” said Lopez at Wednesday’s press conference. “We are going to present a real war that night.
“I respect (Gonzalez) because he has had great fights. He has done a great job in his career. But you know that when we get in the ring, there is no respect. I am going to take this belt home for my family and for Mexico.
“It’s going to be a total war. When there are two hungry Mexicans in the ring, they always go at it with everything. We know that Joet Gonzalez is tough. And my goal, as I’ve said, is to knock him out.”
Lopez has won his last 11 fights, eight by knockout, since losing by unanimous decision to Ruben Villa in May 2019. Ironically, Villa, who recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank earlier this year, will fight Brandon Valdes tonight in preliminary action on ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET/ 3:30 p.m. PT).
In the 10-round co-feature, unbeaten junior middleweight Xander Zayas (16-0, 10 KOs), who is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and now resides in Sunrise, Florida, will face Mexico’s Roberto Valenzuela (21-4, 20 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
Zayas weighed in at 153.7 pounds. Valenzuela weighed 153.4 pounds.
Opening the ESPN telecast will be a six round bout between unbeaten lightweights Emiliano Vargas (6-0, 5 KOs) of Las Vegas, Nevada and Spain’s Alejandro Guardado (5-0, 1 KO).
Vargas, the son of former two-time world junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas, is a Las Vegas resident and also recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank. The 19-year-old is the youngest of three sons, Fernando, Jr. and Amado.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]