I’m thinking a good deal about expectations as we count down to Loma-Lopez fight night. Teofimo Lopez will want to clear the high bar set by his dad. Edgar Berlanga will have in mind his streak of 14 knockouts, all before the end of round one.
And here’s another one for you: Alex Saucedo (30-1, 19 KO), whose nickname is “Seek and Destroy,” meets Arnold Barboza Jr (24-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round junior welterweight battle on ESPN.
“That’s me,” said Saucedo of his nickname. “They know me!”
How to Watch Lomachenko vs Lopez
Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 | Start Time: 10:00 pm ET (Main Card) / 7:30 pm ET (Prelims)
Location: MGM Top Rank Bubble, Las Vegas, NV
TV: ESPN (Main Card) | Stream: ESPN+ (Prelims)
And is that not a bit much to live up to, I asked the 26-year-old fighter? “No, not at all, this is boxing, this is a dangerous sport,” he said.
In other words, duh, c’mon man, everyone should know that it’s either him or me, and yes, the stakes are such that the word “destroy” isn’t used carelessly.
“I’m excited to go out and give everything, and go to work on Saturday.”
In June 2018, Saucedo beat Lenny Zappavigna in Oklahoma in a great action fight, snagging a shot at the WBO 140-pound title.
He tried to take the belt off Maurice Hooker in his next outing, but in round seven was being hammered and the fight was halted.
Saucedo tells us he’s now in a better place, that getting a revamp of his team has left him well situated to deal with Barboza. The COVID span hasn’t messed with him much, though his seven-year-old daughter not being able to go back to school full time does impact his home life. Speaking of which, fiancée Tanya will be especially rooting for Alex to get that W, because a win could propel him back to a title fight, and with that an uptick in prize money.
“When things come out well, we’re looking forward to getting married. There’s no date yet, but I wanna get some money in my pocket, and get a nice setup going,” he said.
Rust won’t be an issue, being that he gloved up in June, and a 10-week camp has him feeling dialed-in.
If you haven’t seen Saucedo, I’m here to tell you, his style is fan-friendly. He sees volume as a key to his success, he likes to stay medium to medium-close range to get off, and he isn’t overly worried about getting hit. He can be countered, that’s part of what makes his fights fun to watch.
Saucedo-Barboza is worth the time investment. It’s possible Barboza enjoys a hand-speed edge, and his length will have to be solved for Saucedo to get the win. Does the Okie boxer have a plan to try and mess up Barboza’s rhythm when he switches from righty to lefty, with perfect timing, or just rely on a volume edge? Will Saucedo be of a mindset to maybe use the feet more than usual, keep Barboza from being as effective with his mobility as per usual?
Time will tell. And if Barboza does what he does best, it may well be that there won’t be as many “fan-friendly” moments as we’re used to in a Saucedo fight.
“I’m the type of fighter who wants to steal the show any card I’m on, it’s a business and my mentality is, you have to know so many people are watching, and I’ll get some new fans with a great showing,” he said.
“Barboza is a tough, tough guy, undefeated,” he said of his opponent. “I watched a couple of his fights, and we were on a couple undercards together. He likes to box, has a good right and left hook. I’m just ready, in my last fight, it went 10 rounds, my opponent threw (584) punches the whole fight and I threw (885), I had the same prep mentality. I want to be throwing up to 1,000 punches, and my punches are powerful, they’re not just any weak shots.”
The loss to Hooker did him a favor, he said, because it forced him to shore up holes.
“I learned a lot, I got a better team, and took off a year. It was a year to focus on myself, on getting better and finding the right team.
“Now, it’s perfect, and Alex is back, better than ever. (Trainer) Pedro (Neme) likes to break down fighters, work on things specifically for a fight. I get one-on-one time I didn’t get in the past. I did 150 rounds sparring for this fight, I’m definitely ready to go out try and throw a thousand power punches.
“Has Barboza seen anything like me? He’s undefeated, I’m preparing for anything. But on Saturday, I’m gonna put on a great performance. My prediction is: Saucedo in an impressive win, I’m going to change everyone’s mind again!”