Could Rogers Mtagwa Get A Rematch With Juan Manuel Lopez?

BY Michael Woods ON October 09, 2009
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The calls for a rematch will be loud and consistent, but it is doubtful we will see JuanMa give Roger Mtagwa another shot at his WBO super banamweight title.

Promoter Bob Arum said as much post-bout and Top Rank matchmaker Carl Moretti confirmed it to TSS after the scintillating main event.

Nobody knew going in just how much of a tussle Mtagwa would give JuanMa. All knew he hard heart and a knack for late-inning heroics, but the Philly-based hitter opened up eyes and earned himself a load of new fans with his exploits. “We knew Mtagwa was going to be a real tough guy,” Arum said.

Nobody knew he’d be like a zombie on meth--in a good way!--and be a combo away from being the champion, though.

TSS wonders how much this fight will take out of JuanMa; he has an HBO date, on Jan. 23rd, and presumably will be ready to rock. Sadly, Mtagwa is not on the short list of foes, which is comprised of Steven Lueveno, Celestino Caballero and Elio Rojas.

TSS basically begged Moretti to get JuanMa to give Mtagwa another crack. The response? “HBO would never buy it,” said Moretti. And besides, “Once was enough!”

And if TSS demands it? “Watch it on tape,” said Moretti with a grin.

The matchmaker admitted his heart was beating out of his chest in 11 and 12, and showed off a smear of blood on his blazer as proof.

Moretti said he and compadre Bruce Trampler knew Mtagwa would give a fight, but thought he was a bit long in the tooth. That he was still active and tossing hard shots in the 12th round blew Moretti away.  He allowed that the 26-year-old JuanMa may have slightly looked past the 30-year-old Tanzanian-Philadelphian.

He was reminded, he said, of the 1990 Chavez/Taylor fight, in which Taylor merely needed to finish the 12th, and he would've gotten the W. JuanMa managed to go the distance, while Taylor didn't, of course.

What if, TSS asked, HBO did the right thing, and ponied up big bucks to obtain JuanMa-Mtagwa 2? Would Top Rank bite?

“Doubtful,” Moretti said. “I think JuanMa wants to fight a world champion.”

TSS will push for another shot for Mtagwa, you can be sure. But some Top Rankers explained that market research, and history, shows that rematches often don't make for good business. Clamor results in the fighters engaging in the sequel getting top dollar, and surprisingly, many fans give the re-do a pass, figuring they've seen the best of them. Basically, been there, done that. And thus, rematches don't usually mean good business for promoters. And since this is a business, the facts of the figures usually rule.

SPEEDBAG Promoter Lou Dibella, who I’ve seen at a classic rock show or two in NYC, gave the Kiss show in the big room at Madison Square Garden a pass, and instead took in the “Latin Fury” card.

Dibella is on an upswing, with Paulie Malignaggi getting more mileage out of a loss than any fighter in recent memory, and with Andre Berto on the cusp of a career-defining fight against Shane Mosley.

TSS gave Lou the third degree on where negotiations stand with Malignaggi as the Brooklyn pugilist tries to secure a rematch with Juan Diaz, and with Berto, who will likely get a chance to break out from the pack when he gloves up against Shane Mosley in a welterweight title consolidation.

First up, it’s looking like Paulie-Diaz will get done, for Dec. 12th. Dibella said he talked to Diaz’ people at Golden Boy, and they are confident Diaz will sign off a on a contract which has the two lightweights fighting at 139 pounds in a 20 foot ring. Chicago, with a dense base of Mexicans and Italians, is in the running with Vegas to host the show.

As for WBC champ Berto, he’ll probably end up fighting WBA champ Mosley on Jan. 30, at Mosley’s preferred spot, Mandalay Bay in Vegas. “We’re close enough the deal could get done within a week,” Dibella said. “If it didn’t happen, though, it wouldn’t shock me.”

Dibella also handles Kermit Cintron, who will fight in Puerto Rico, against 15-2 Brazilian  Juliano Ramos on Oct. 24. Cintron was born in Carolina, PR, and this will be his first scrap in PR.

Dibella fighter Carlos Quintana, the promoter hopes, will be geared up and in the zone mentally when he meets Joshua Clottey on Dec. 5 in Atlantic City. “These are two of the seven or eight best welterweights in a great clash of styles, Dibella said. The promoter gives Clottey, coming off a narrow loss to Miguel Cotto in June,  a 55-45 edge going in. Quintana will shed some rust on Oct. 24 on the Cintron-Ramos undercard, against 15-7 Jesse Feliciano, coming off back to back losses to Cintron in 2007 and then Andrey Tsurkan in 2008 Dibella is also hoping Sergio Martinez, the WBC interim 154 pound champ, will fight on the Malignaggi-Diaz II undercard, to stay sharp. He is being targeted by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Not sure why—Martinez is way too seasoned for Junior.

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