Taconing has been a card holding member of the “Who needs him?” club since 2012, when he got his only previous world title fight and was controversially beaten by Kompayak Porpramook in Thailand. Although an avoided fighter after that bout Taconing has subsequently gone 9-0 (8), claimed the OPBF title and scored notable wins over Vergilio Silvano, Ramon Garcia Hirales and Jomar Fajardo.
Taconing is avoided for a number of reasons. Firstly he's a huge puncher in the lower weights. Only a small number of fighters have heard the final bell against him, and only 1 of the last 9 opponents survived his power, though that one ended early with a technical decision. He's tough having proven his chin in the past and never backing up against the likes of Porpramook, Fajardo or Hirales, and he really trusts his chin. And third he has a great engine. Despite stopping many opponents early he has shown power late in fights, and actually stopped Hirales in the last 10 seconds of the 10th round. Finally, and perhaps worth of all for his opponents, and team, is that he's a southpaw making him even more tricky.
When it comes to the champion we have a talented fighter who has proven he can travel to win bouts, but has had a long and draining career. Aged 34 he's in the twilight of his career, though this is first world title defense and he did score his biggest career victory just 4 months ago, when he travelled to Japan and defeated Yu Kimura for the title. It's worth noting that a year ago he pushed the then champion Pedrio Guevara all the way in a thrilling 12 rounder, in a bout that some thought would be his last hurrah.
In the ring Guevara can both box or fight. He's not an elite boxer but he's got the basics down excellently, as he showed against Kimura, and when he needs to have a war he can. In fact not only can he have a war, but he can take punishment as well, with only one stoppage against him, that coming to the big punching Filipino Denver Cuello who was on a genuinely destructive run at the time and that came at 105lbs.
Coming in to this one we expect a war, a full on violent, and exciting war, though given Taconing's power we eventually think he'll break down the ageing Lopez in the later rounds. Before then however this one will be a lot of fun, with both men being forced to take some seriously big shots.