ONTARIO, CALIF-World champions Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and Yonnhy Perez showed up to ignite the new year for pro boxing in Southern California and for most of the night it went according to Hoyle, but the main event saw Venezuela’s Patrick Lopez chase and dodge an uncooperative John Brown on Friday.

Bradley and Perez are homegrown world champions for Thompson Boxing Promotions and they were hoping to see Lopez start 2010 with a bang at the Doubletree Hotel but Brown (24-17-2, 11 KOs) wasn’t cooperating. Instead, the main event was rather boring.

“He fought a lot of world champions so I knew he would be a little difficult,” said Lopez (18-2, 12 KOs) a fast-rising junior welterweight.

Lopez had a five or six inch height advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look it. With Brown not eager to exchange with the counter punching Lopez the first five rounds were not very exciting and lacked action.

Lopez used his jab and sporadic punches to the body to score but it wasn’t enough to please the 1,836 fans in the audience. Brown lowered his head like a human battering ram and tried getting inside that way, but was mostly ineffective. A clash of heads in the fourth opened a cut on Lopez’s right eye.

“It didn’t bother me,” said Lopez of the blood trickling down his face. “I just wanted to perform like always.”

Round after round saw Lopez trying to figure out if Brown was going to punch or not. Finally, in the eighth and final round, Lopez let the guns out and landed several blows to the body, a left uppercut found its mark and down went Brown grimacing. He beat the count and was pummeled by Lopez who opened up with everything he had after seven previous frustrating rounds. Brown made it to the end. Barely.

“I think I’m ready for a world title opportunity,” said Lopez who resembles a more dignified Ricardo Mayorga. “He (Brown) fought a lot of world champions and I think I proved I belong in the same level of champion fighters.”

Two judges scored it 80-71 and one scored it 79-72 all for Lopez.

Other bouts

Daniel “Travieso” Hernandez (9-0, 5 KOs) found it a little slippery at first against Baudel Cardenas (18-20-2, 6 KOs) in a lightweight contest until he discovered the weak spot for a knockout. But it took a while.

It was feel out round for Hernandez and Cardenas in the first. The South Gate fighter tested out Cardenas body early and received return fire with some lethal left hooks from the Los Mochis veteran.

The second round saw Hernandez work the head and body but Cardenas didn’t let him over run him. Cardenas finished the end of the round with a right and left combo that connected.

Hernandez finally found Cardenas weak spot with a left hook to the solar plexus during an exchange of punches and down he went. Two more times a left hook weakened Cardenas knees but he remained on his feet.

The fifth round wasn’t nice for the Mexican veteran who ran into a Hernandez right hand to the body and did not get up at 31 second into the round.

On paper it looked like it might be Riverside’s Hector Serrano’s (11-0, 3 KOs) toughest junior welterweight fight with rock chinned Cristian Favela (17-24-6) in front of him. But after nearly six whitewashed rounds of Serrano hitting and countering it was a much easier fight than anticipated.

Serrano hurt Favela early in the first round with a left uppercut and that seemed to put Favela in safe mode. From then on it was Serrano’s fight except in the fifth round when Favela landed some blistering overhand rights that connected but did not slow down the Serrano express. The scores were 60-54 twice and 59-55 for Serrano.

Efrain Esquivias (7-0, 5 KOs) stopped New Mexico’s game but out-gunned Randy Arrellin (2-2) at 2:40 of the sixth round of a featherweight bout. It should have been stopped a round earlier.

For three rounds the fight was competitive with Arrellin landing right hands. But Esquivias found a place for a right hand body shot and that turned things around in the third round. Arrellin took a knee after one of those rights to the body sunk into his ribs.

After that, it was wide open for Esquivias who attacked both the head and body for the next three rounds. In the fifth, Arrellin took another knee after a flurry of blows. People in the crowd including WBO junior welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley were yelling to stop the fight. No dice. It wasn’t until the sixth and final round that referee David Denkin stopped the savage beating.

Alberto Herrera (7-0, 5 KOs), the younger brother of Mauricio, couldn’t put away sturdy Hilario Lopez (11-9, 8 KOs) but proceeded to use his boxing ability to win a six round junior middleweight fight by unanimous decision 60-54 on all three cards.

Lopez’s peek-a-boo style was penetrated by Herrera’s accurate and quick blows. In the last round Lopez connected with a solid right hand but it was not enough to win the sixth round as Herrera swept every round.

A pro debut for both Watsonville’s Johnatan Garcia and Riverside’s Anthony Reyes was decided in the first round when a right hand dropped Reyes within seconds of the opening bell. Referee David Denkin ruled it a knockdown though it was clear Reyes tripped over Garcia’s extended left leg. That knockdown proved too much for Reyes to overcome.

Reyes landed the bigger blows and fired more but Garcia was the more accurate. In the end the judges scored it a split decision with judge Corona seeing it 38-37 for Reyes, and both Rochin 39-36 for Garcia and De Luca 38-37 for Garcia.