Thursday, February 8, 2024

Lopez Defeats Ortiz To Retain WBO Jr. Welterweight World Championship

WBO Jr. Welterweight world champion Teofimo Lopez scored a lackluster twelve round unanimous decision over WBO number ten rated Jr. Welterweight contender Jamaine Ortiz on Thursday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. From the opening bell, Ortiz figuring out of a southpaw stance made the fight a tactical chess match by making the champion come after him with the strategy of trying to catch him as he came forward. 

The elusive approach, while not crowd pleasing seemed effective as it managed to quell the normal offensive rhythm of Lopez. With both fighters landing in single digits in most of the rounds in the twelve round world championship bout, the lone highlight came in seven when an accidental clash of heads opened a cut above the right eye. Despite the abysmal performance where Lopez openly expressed his frustration during the fight, Lopez' aggression was enough to earn the nod of the three official judges in earning a twelve round unanimous decision. Official scores were: 117-111, and 115-113 (On two scorecards)in favor of Lopez. 

Teofimo Lopez advances to 20-1, with 13 Knockouts. Jamaine Ortiz falls to 17-2-1, with 8 Knockouts. 

Also on this card:

Undefeated Lightweight contender Keyshawn Davis scored a sixth round stoppage of former two-division world champion Jose Pedraza. Pedraza, who was coming off of a lengthy layoff and was competing at the 135lb. Lightweight limit for the first time in a number of years, was clearly compromised by having to drop weight for the bout as his punches did not have much steam on them. Pedraza also had no answer for the full offensive arsenal that Davis put forth by constantly throwing and landing combinations. Gradually, the effects of an accumulation of punishment took their toll on the former world champion. 

In round six, a right hand that appeared to land high on the head sent Pedraza staggering across the ring. Davis proceeded to unleash a barrage of unanswered punches that forced a stoppage of the bout. Official time of the stoppage was 1:09 of round six. Keyshawn Davis advances to10-0, with 7 Knockouts. Jose Pedraza falls to 29-6-1, with 14 Knockouts 

Also in the Lightweight division, Rene Giron outworked George Acosta over eight rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory. Official scores were 78-73, 76-75, and 78-72

Undefeated Middleweight Javier Martinez pounded out a hard fought eight round unanimous decision over Raul Salomon. An at times ugly fight where both fighters were warned for low blows and rough house tactics that was fought almost exclusively in close, Martinez’ harder body shots, particularly over the second half of the fight, was ultimately enough for him to get the nod of the three official judges. Official scores were: 79-73, and 78-74 (On two scorecards) in favor of Martinez. Javier Martinez advances to 10-0-1, with 3 Knockouts. Raul Salomon falls to 12-3, with 10 Knockouts. 

In a battle of unbeaten Lightweights, Abdullah Mason scored a brutal second round knockout of previously undefeated Benjamin Gurment. A barrage of flush left hooks to the head sent Gurment down when he was sent into the corner and grabbed the ropes to prevent himself from going down. Following the knockdown, Referee Harvey Dock told Gurment that he was giving him a short leash to continue, but he needed to show something. Before Gurment to get a chance, Mason stepped in and decked him with a flush right hook to the head, the fight was immediately stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 1:29 of round two. Abdullah Mason advances to 12-0, with 10 Knockouts. Benjamin Gurment falls to 8-0-3, with 5 Knockouts. 

Lightweight Charlie Sheehy scored a workmanlike eight round unanimous decision over Abdel Sauceda to move to 9-0 in his young career. From the opening bell, Sheehy used angles, movement, a consistent jab, and mixed in short combinations to out box Sauceda, who never stopped coming forward and had some periodic success in the latter rounds, but was not able to take control of the combat.  Official scores were: 80-72 (On all three scorecards) for Sheehy. Charlie Sheehy advances to 9-0, with 5 Knockouts. Abdel Sauceda falls to 12-4, with 8 Knockouts,

Undefeated Lightweight Alan Garcia scored a first round knockout of Tomas Ornelas. Garcia quickly dropped Ornelas with a left hook to the head in the opening seconds. Ornelas got up on unsteady legs and Garcia was able to close the show with a left hook to the ribcage, which sent Ornealas down for a second time, the fight was stopped. Official time of the stoppage was :51 of round one. Alan Garcia advances to 11-0 with 9 Knockouts. Tomas Ornelas falls to 7-4, with 5 Knockouts. 

Heavyweight Lemir Isom Riley scored a third round stoppage of Antonio Zepeda. Riley put pressure on the taller and longer Zepeda from the outset, staying close and not letting Zepeda have an opportunity to get his punches off with consistency by smothering the taller fighter. After a dismal showing in the second round, Zepeda was visited by a ringside physician before the third round, but was allowed to continue. In the third round, the pressure from Riley continued resulting in Zepeda going down twice via taking a knee without being hit by a punch. After the second knockdown Zepeda’s corner got on the ring apron and asked that the fight be stopped as Referee Thomas Taylor was in the middle of his count. Official time of the stoppage was  1:28 of round three. Lemir Isom Riley advances to 4-2, with 2 Knockouts. Antonio Zepeda falls to 6-2, with 6 Knockouts. 

Unbeaten eighteen year old Jr. Welterweight Art Barrera Jr. scored a first round knockout of Michael Portales to begin the evening. Barrera ended the fight with a left hook to the head thatr caught Portales as he was coming forward, which sent him down and the bout was stopped midway through the ten count. Official time of the stoppage was 1:41 of round one. Art Barrera Jr. advances to 3-0, with 3 Knockouts. Michael Portales falls to 3-3-1, with 0 Knockouts.

Coming out of this fight, this observer feels that perhaps Teofimo Lopez benefited from a bad decision. While the old adage is in order to take a championship, a challenger needs to take it from the champion, could be applied here, Jamaine Ortiz simply did not get the credit for a crafty and disciplined fight plan that he put forth in the ring. As for the champion, this win will keep him in his position atop the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division. While his frustration in having to contend with an opponent that did not cooperate with what he might have wanted to do, Lopez as a champion and thus representative of the sport did not win any supporters in a post-fight interview with ESPN, proceeded to go on a vulgar-filled rant where he was all over the place and was not well received by the crowd in attendance.

Out of respect for the reader, this observer will not post quotes because frankly, I had trouble understanding what Lopez was trying to say. What I will say however, is sometimes a win is a win and even though Lopez may not be pleased with his performance and was obviously emotional, he did himself nor the sport any favors by going on an explicit filled rant. Perhaps once he has had a chance to cool down, maybe an apology would be appropriate.

“And That's The Boxing Truth."

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