New York City’s Edgar Santana pulled a victory out of a hat with a stirring ninth round after being dropped twice in the previous round for a majority decision over Riverside, California’s Josesito Lopez to win a majority decision in a junior welterweight fight on Friday.
Lopez fights at lightweight.
The win at Miccosukee Resort and Gaming may have kept Santana’s career alive, but the body shots that made him collapse twice in a heap told a different story.
Junior welterweights everywhere will be gunning for his body.
Before the fight Santana (24-3, 15 KOs) had expected Lopez (22-3, 13 KOs) to be too weak coming up from the lightweight division to meet him at 140 pounds. But after 10 rounds, it looked like the weak will inherit the ring.
From the beginning it was obvious that Santana wanted to fight inside and use his strength advantage whenever available. More than a few times he came in “Billy Goat” style with his head pointed toward Lopez’s face. But the Californian maneuvered his head from side to side to keep from getting butt by Santana’s dirty tactics.
Holding was another tool used by Santana but the referee was pretty strong about keeping it to a minimum and he also kept the fight under control.
The first six rounds were rather close as Santana made repeated attempts to walk inside with his gloves tucked to his chin and his head pointed toward Lopez’s face. Exchanges were infrequent and after the end of the sixth round it looked to be a draw at that point.
Santana, 29, began attacking slightly more frequently from the fifth to the seventh round as Lopez merely tucked his face behind his gloves and let the New York fighter fire away.
It was a bad tactic.
Lopez’s trainer Henry Ramirez, who also trains heavyweight prospect Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, admonished Lopez to not allow another one-sided round like the seventh.
Lopez, 23, who has fought entirely as a lightweight or lighter, had taken the fight at a heavier weight division because Showtime was making it the main event. He wanted the exposure. He flew to Miami, Florida knowing that he needed a good showing at did more.
In the eighth round, two left hooks by Lopez to Santana’s body dropped him with a puzzled look on his face. He beat the count and resumed fighting when another long left hook from Lopez to the solar plexus dropped him again. Santana got up.
It looked like it was a formality that Lopez had changed the momentum permanently.
Santana came out in the ninth round and convincingly fired at Lopez who seemed to be winded. A few right hands pierced Lopez’s guard and snapped his head back. It was a remarkable turnaround for the New York City fighter.
The last round saw both fighters exchange but it appeared that Lopez’s punches had more snap to them. Not all the judges saw that. Instead Santana won by majority decision 94-94, 95-93 twice.
Lopez shook his head as the cards were read.
What does this mean?
For Lopez it means he has the power to hurt a junior welterweight and he has the chin to take a 140-pounder’s best shot. For Santana it means a lot of junior welters will be gunning for that soft body.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?