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George: "I plan on breaking Lopez down and getting him out of there"

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By Matthew Paras


With his middleweight debut approaching, Donovan George is seeking a knockout win against rugged veteran David Lopez to make a statement on ESPN2 this Friday (10 p.m., ET/7 p.m., PT) at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
 
George, 24-3-1 (21), is set to headline his first “Friday Night Fights” after light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara, the original headliner, reinjured his hand during training camp. The opportunity positions George to aim for an impressive middleweight debut by attempting to stop a fighter who hasn’t been stopped since 2005.
 
Since then, Lopez, 41-13 (23), has won 17 of his last 18 fights. His only loss during this stretch came at the hands of junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout. “Lopez is a super-tough Mexican brawler,” George said. “He’s the kind of guy you have to be on your “P”s and “Q”s with because he’s going to be sharp. But I plan on breaking him down and getting him out of there.
 
“If I can go out there and make a huge statement, I can get myself right back on the map.”

George is in need of a statement after suffering two notable defeats in his last five fights. His solution? Drop eight pounds to middleweight. George said the move to a new weight class was being made to get away from being constantly outsized at super middleweight.
 
However, Lopez’s height is listed on BoxRec.com at 6’ 2” and he has a 78-inch reach. On the other hand, George is listed at 6’ 0” with only a 70-inch reach. Is George going to be outsized again? “No risk, no reward,” he said. “I think I’m going to have to rely on my strength. I’m a little wider and more built than him. I’d better be in better shape - he’s 35 years old. So I think I’m just going to be the more physical, stronger man.”
 
Making weight will be a challenge for George as well. “Da Bomb” told Maxboxing that he generally weighs 200 to 205 pounds between fights but stayed under 180 pounds prior to the Lopez fight. Staying in shape has required drastic changes in his lifestyle.
 
“It was very difficult,” he said. “It takes a lot of discipline and dedication and it sucks. I love to eat and love to drink. It just sucks.
 
“I’m on this thing called Ideal Protein,” George added. “One of my sponsors, Multicare Health Center, hooked me up. They put me on this great diet and check my weight every week. It really helps me.”
 
To prepare for the Lopez fight, George traveled with his father, Pete, to Detroit to work with Sugar Hill, the late Emanuel Steward’s nephew. While there, George sparred a familiar foe - super middleweight Adonis Stevenson. “Sugar Hill knew I was looking for top-notch southpaw sparring and what better southpaw to spar with than Stephenson?” George asked. “We’re going at it in the gym and it’s good work. We’ve become friends. There’s a bit of a language barrier there but it’s probably better so I don’t have to talk to him much.
 
“I feel like I owe him one every time since he got me,” George said. “Every time I spar him, I try and get him.”
 
George said the training in Detroit has focused on footwork and sparring. Hill, while not officially apart of the camp, has given advice to George and hooked him up with younger sparring partners as well. “The work out there has been incredible,” said George. “I can tell the improvement already. I can’t wait to get back out there and keep learning.”
 
As camp starts to wind down, George is eager to get into the ring against Lopez.
 
“I’ve never headlined a TV card in this space before,” George said. “I’m super-excited. I know there’s a lot of pressure on me to perform but I can’t wait to get out there and prove it.”
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Matt at mparas1432@gmail.com. You can follow him at www.twitter.com/Mparas1432.
 
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