ONTARIO, CALIF-One of California’s best secrets, Patrick “El Elegante” Lopez, cruised to an eight round bloody victory over Mexico’s stone chinned Sergio Rivera in a junior welterweight clash between southpaw sluggers on Friday.
Though all three judges gave Lopez every round in the victory at the Doubletree Hotel, each round was fought hard by Rivera (14-4-2, 10 KOs) who suffered a large gash on his forehead. Lopez was cut on the corner of the right eye.
“I’m learning still,” said Lopez (17-2, 12 KOs), who is originally from Venezuela and signed with Thompson Boxing Promotions.
Lopez can box or he can punch with either hand but Rivera never blinked in the eight rounds they cracked each other.
In the first round both southpaws stood three feet away from each other feinting and sliding slightly to the right. Lopez was the more active in a first round as both fired quick and hard blows. Neither wanted to budge from their preferred spot.
“I wanted to see what he had in the first round,” said Lopez. “I was studying him.”
Lopez used a body attack in the second round to open up Rivera’ s defense. A five punch combination with a right hook chaser landed big for the Venezuelan at the close of the round.
Accuracy is Lopez’s trademark. Every time the southpaw slugger unleashed a blow it connected, but the Mexican southpaw kept looking to counter each combination by Lopez. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not.
At the end of the fourth round both fighters emerged with bad cuts, either from a head clash or a punch. Rivera’s cut on his forehead above his right eye poured blood throughout the round. Lopez also bled on the corner of his right eye and it kept his face spotted with red for the remainder of the fight.
“I had my hands down but I was comfortable fighting that way,” said Lopez, who dared Rivera to cross an imaginary line in front of him.
Despite several crushing blows landed on Rivera’s head, he seldom seemed fazed by the punches. Only in the seventh round did he look slightly wobbled when he ran into a Lopez right hook.
All three judges scored it 80-72 for Lopez.
The Venezuelan boxer-puncher is now training in Indio alongside WBO titleholder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. That must be some pretty impressive sparring. Lopez could be the next world champion boxer to come from Thompson Boxing Promotion’s impressive stable. His last loss came to a stable mate Josesito Lopez of Riverside in a closely fought war.
Riverside’s Alberto Herrera (6-0, 5 KOs) continued to improve with a more balanced attack in beating Montana’s Jesus Vallejo (3-2, 3 KOs) by technical knockout in a junior middleweight contest.
Vallejo absorbed some heavy blows in the first round and was almost dropped with a left hook to the solar plexus. But he survived on sheer determination. Herrera was the faster and more experienced fighter, but Vallejo never surrendered though he lost his mouthpiece twice in two rounds. A flurry of punches by Herrera as Vallejo leaned against the ropes forced referee Lou Moret to halt the fight at 1:06 of the second round. Vallejo was never floored but was hit with far too many blows.
Riverside’s Hector Serrano (10-0) kept his unbeaten streak alive with a six-round domination over Mexico’s Jaime Orrantia (11-25-5) in a junior welterweight contest. Orrantia was a late replacement for Raul Franco who suffered a hand injury while training. Serrano used his height and reach to pepper Orrantia with combinations all six rounds. No knockdowns were scored. Two judges scored it 60-54 and one 59-55 for Serrano.
A welterweight battle between two young veterans Armenia’s Vito Gasparyan (11-2-5) and Tijuana’s Pavel Miranda (18-4-1) ended in a draw. Gasparyan used his busy pace to start quicker against Miranda who seemed tentative fighting at a heavier weight. But as the rounds accumulated Miranda began stepping up his punch output. The key to Miranda’s turnaround was his attack to the body that gave Gasparyan something else to think about. But the Armenian fighter never slowed his attack and the final three rounds were very close. Two judges scored it 57-57 a draw and one 58-56 for Gasparyan.
Chicago’s Ramon Valenzuela and San Bernardino’s Leonardo Saldivar exploded with punches in the opening bell and after a torrid three minutes the fight dropped down to a more reasonable pace. But Valenzuela had more energy and began landing the bigger blows against the weary Saldivar. A left hook to the body floored Saldivar and the fight was stopped at 1:59 of the second round for a technical knockout victory for Valenzuela. Both junior middleweights were making their pro debuts.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV