WBO junior featherweight champion Juan Manuel ‘Juanma’ Lopez (27-0, 24 KOs) is about a week away from his January 23rd challenge against WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano (37-1-1, 15 KOs). The bout will take place at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York with HBO televising. Having now arrived in New York the PR Best Boxing (Ivan & Peter Rivera) and Top Rank promoted Lopez is ready to handle the task at hand in winning his second world title in as many divisions. Lopez spoke with Fightnews regarding his upcoming bout.
How familiar are you with Lueveno?
We have actually fought on the same fight card before. He is a very technically sound fighter.
Do you feel he has any advantage on you being that you’re coming up from the 122 pound division to his 126 pound division?
Lueveno is not known for being a big puncher but I will respect his power as I do all opposition. I feel very strong at 126 pounds.
Normally you’re the southpaw in your fights. Do you feel just as comfortable fighting another southpaw as you would a conventional fighter?
Actually I’m very comfortable fighting southpaws and don’t force any problems fighting another southpaw.
Most of your recent fights have been with fighters who have come directly at you. How are you prepared to deal with Lueveno who is the complete opposite where he moves and boxes?
Lueveno is a complete fighter and I will have to be extremely patient and fight intelligently.
Your countryman Mario Santiago had success in his draw with Luevano in 2008. Are there things you think you can take from that fight and use to your advantage?
There were some things that I could take from that fight but styles make fights and it will be me fighting him not Santiago January 23rd. I can’t wait for Luevano to make any of the same mistakes he made in the Santiago fight with me. I have to be prepared to fight my fight and that’s what I intend to do in order to win his world title.
The height and reach of you both is about identical. Do you feel that he will be forced to trade with you at times?
If that happens to be the case then I’m prepared to do so. I’m not coming looking for a knockout but if the knockout presents itself of course I will take it. I’m %100 ready. I’ve come to win his title so a knockout or decision win is fine with me.