Fight of the Year! – Mtagwa Tunes-up Lopez
By: George Hanson Jr., Esq.
Date: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Promoters: Top Rank
It’s not difficult to reach me because most afternoons I am at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia working out in the boxing gym—training kids or in the dojo learning a new discipline—Wado Ryu karate. Therefore, when I heard promoter Bob Arum earlier in the week proclaiming that Rogers Mtagwa’s (25 wins – 12 losses – 2 draws – 18 kos) title shot would be a tune-up for WBO junior-featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (26 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 24 kos) and his impending showdown with WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, I wondered why Bob didn’t reach out to me and solicit my opinion before making such a statement.
I know Rogers “The Tiger” Mtagwa, having met him when he first arrived from Tanzania in 2000 and started training at the Marian Anderson boxing gym. Over the past nine years I have developed a good feel for what drives him and why nobody in their right mind would consider him a “tune-up,” much less a world-class promoter like Arum. Mtagwa is not only fighting for his two kids (little Sinia and baby Rogers), he is also fighting for his country driven by an indomitable will to succeed and a noble spirit. Therefore, there was no way I would not be at the Garden to witness him win the championship.