It was an eventful day of boxing this past Saturday but the biggest bang was created by Luis Alberto Lopez who successfully defended his IBF featherweight title by stopping hometown favorite, Michael Conlan, in five rounds.
With one big right uppercut, things ended in stunning fashion in a fight that was being controlled by the power of the Mexican.
Lopez is now boxing's latest road warrior.
For 'el Venado' this is his third victory in the UK in his last five outings. Like Glen Johnson before him, he's a fighter who has no problems using his passport and punching his way to a lucrative living overseas. Perhaps there will be a time soon when he will box more in North America/Mexico, but he has put the 'world' in 'world champion'.
Coming off a tight majority decision over Josh Warrington back in December in Leeds, he came into the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland against Conlan, who was so close to winning the WBA belt last year versus Leigh Wood, as he was knocked out (and out of the ring) while having the lead on the cards going into the 12th frame.
This time around there would be no such late heart break. Conlan landed his share of leather in the first round, but it was evident that his shots lacked the power that was coming back at him. Every time Conlan landed leather on Lopez, something came right back at him.
Lopez is an unorthodox sort inside the ring. He is far from textbook in terms of his fundamentals and technique, but while you can argue he does a lot of things wrong, like an Emanuel Navarette, they make it work.
A perfectly placed right uppercut to Conlan sent him flat on his back. A towel came in soon afterwords. It was an emphatic win for Ring's third ranked featherweight, who's was a powerful as he was awkward on this night.
Meanwhile at the Manchester Arena in jolly ol' England, Leigh Wood, regained the WBA featherweight belt by boxing a disciplined bout over 36 minutes to soundly defeat Mauricio Lara. Simply put, this fight was rather uneventful and lacked the drama of their intial encounter.
Coming into this bout, Lara was deemed ineligible to retain his title as it was ruled by the British Boxing Board of Control that Lara was too heavy during their pre-fight check-up, and that he wouldn't be able to come in at 126 pounds.
And with that, Lara -- who had knocked out Wood back in February with a big left hook -- fought in a very listless fashion. At times he looked downright disinterested, while Wood just methodically won one round after another.
But credit to Wood, he did what he had to do in order to regain his title. It wasn't particularly entertaining, but it beats getting knocked out.
Golden Boy Promotions put forth an eventful card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, that was headlined by welterweight, Alexis Rocha, who drilled Anthony Young in five rounds. For Rocha it's his fifth outing in 15 months.
The southpaw from Santa Ana, is steadily developing as a fighter. Yeah, activity matters. He is ranked number one in the WBO, and he makes it clear that he wants to go big-game hunting at 147.
Golden Boy Promotions
“I want the winner of the Spence-Crawford fight, and I am confident with the help of my amazing promoter, Golden Boy and Oscar De La Hoya, we’ll make it happen," said Rocha.
Oscar Collazo became the latest Puerto Rican world champion (making history, as it took him just seven bouts to do so) as he scored a seventh round stoppage of Melvin Jerusalem for the WBO minimumweight title. It was an impressive performance for the whirlwind southpaw, who started to close the gap on the defending champion, and proceeded to strafe him with a punishing body attack.
After round seven, Jerusalem and his corner waved the white flag. Can't say I blame them. It was only going to get worse.
“We knew we had a solid challenge ahead of us, but thanks to my corner, they helped me stay calm throughout the fight,” said Collazo. “I knew I had to establish the pace with my jab, and by the fourth or fifth round we started to hit the body and he didn’t like it. We chopped the tree and we made history for Villalba. I will see you all in Puerto Rico in August, where I will make my first title defense.”
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