- What: Vacant IBF Bantamweight Title Fight
- Who: Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez
- Date: Saturday, August 12, 2023
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD
- How to Watch: Showtime
The vacant IBF bantamweight title will be claimed on Saturday night when Emmanuel Rodriguez faces Melvin Lopez at MGM National Harbor. The IBF title was left vacant after Naoya Inoue moved to super bantamweight earlier this year. At the time, Inoue held the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring bantamweight titles. Jason Moloney claimed the WBO belt in May. Alexandro Santiago won the WBC title in July. In April, Takuma Inoue grabbed the WBA strap. We look at the betting breakdown for the fight that will determine who will win the vacant IBF title, Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (21-2-0-1, 13 knockouts) is the former IBF champ. He surrendered that title to Naoya Inoue in May 2019 when Inoue knocked him out in the second round. Rodriguez then lost a split decision to Reymart Gaballo for the vacant WBC interim title in 2020. He is 2-0-0-1 since then, with a 2021 no contest to Gary Antonio Russell following a clash of heads, a KO win over Robert Sanchez Cantu, and a technical decision win over Russell in 2022 after another head clash.
Melvin Lopez (29-1, 19 knockouts) is on an eight-fight winning streak. He is coming off a December split decision victory over Jobert Alvarez. Lopez’s only loss was to future junior featherweight world title challenger Jose Velasquez in 2019. Lopez was winning on the cards at the time.
Before we look at the bantamweight title fight between Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez, check out the best boxing betting sites and our betting picks for the Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez junior lightweight title fight.
Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez betting picks
|To Win Vacant IBF Bantamweight Title|
Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez betting breakdown
The No. 3 rated bantamweight, according to The Ring, Emmanuel Rodriguez, can move up those rankings on Saturday. The only two fighters rated higher than the 30-year-old are WBO champion Jason Moloney (No. 1) and WBC titleholder Alexandro Santiago (No. 2). With a win on Saturday, the Puerto Rican fighter, who was once the IBF champ and the No. 1 rated fighter at 118 pounds could jump up those ratings.
An excellent amateur boxer, Rodriguez went pro in 2012. He won his first 17 pro fights. Rodriguez claimed the vacant IBF title in 2018 with a shutout decision of Paul Butler. In his only defense, he defeated Moloney by split decision before losing the belt to Naoya Inoue by knockout. Bad luck followed that loss as he lost 18 months to the pandemic. Rodriguez was then on the wrong end of a controversial split decision to Reymart Gaballo before a head clash 20 seconds into his bout with Gary Antonio Russell ended that contest. He then got 10 rounds of action in against Russell in October, winning a technical decision after another clash of heads.
Melvin Lopez is not ranked according to The Ring. Like his foe on Saturday, the 25-year-old was a standout amateur, winning eight Nicaraguan national titles and a Pan-Am student title before he turned pro at 17. Lopez opened his pro career with 14 straight wins before his first, and to date, only loss. While Lopez does not have big names on his record, he has the tools and confidence to give Rodriguez a tough fight.
Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez: Who has the edge
Rodriguez has an immense advantage over Lopez in the high-level experience department, and that could come into play in this fight, as the former champion won’t have any jitters or nerves when he steps onto the big stage for the Showtime boxing event at the MGM Grand National Harbor. However, Lopez has been much more active than Rodriguez over the past few years. Rodriguez has only put in about 11 rounds of work since his loss to Gaballo in 2020. Meanwhile, the younger fighter, Lopez, has made the walk to the ring five times since the start of 2021, with four knockout wins and one decision during that time. Expect Lopez to be confident in his abilities against Rodriguez.
Best Bets for Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez
The betting odds for the Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez fight all favor the former champion, but if one shops around, there’s a chance to find an attractive number to place a bet on Rodriguez for the win. However, the betting value on this fight is to be found in picking Lopez for the upset or with a prop bet on the method of victory. With so little being known about how Lopez will perform on the big stage of a title fight, a betting pick for Rodriguez to win via knockout would not be out of line. However, my pick is for the ex-champ to regain his title with a decision victory.
Best bet for Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez: Pick Rodriguez to beat Lopez via decision.
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