INDIO, CALIF.-Nothing comes easy for Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez who got off the deck to win by technical decision against “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis after eight rounds on Friday.
Lopez (31-6, 18 Kos) needed someone to prepare for a rematch with Victor Ortiz, but no one told Arnaoutis (24-10-1), who floored the Riverside welterweight with a short perfectly timed left cross before a stunned audience at Fantasy Springs Casino. But the flash knockdown only seemed to inject renewed vigor into Lopez.
“Tonight wasn’t my A-game but I worked through it and I got a tough win,” said Lopez, who had lost two consecutive fights. “It was hard to develop a rhythm against a southpaw but I found a way to win.”
Lopez was caught in between steps with a crisp left and was dropped in round three. It didn’t look good as Arnaoutis seemed to be a step ahead of the Riverside fighter for the first four rounds of the welterweight bout set for 10 rounds.
Slowly Lopez began to get into a rhythm, especially with the short right leads that penetrated Arnaoutis’ guard repeatedly. Then Lopez drilled some rights to the body and left hooks back to the head and the momentum began to shift to the California boxer.
Lopez had his best round in the seventh as he was able to defend against Arnaoutis’ power shots and return with well-placed combinations. During two exchanges the two boxers clashed heads and Arnaoutis emerged with a gash along his left eye. Blood streamed down his cheek as Lopez attacked with more combos.
After the eighth round, Lopez was able to land more combos as blood continued to flow from Arnaoutis. The ringside physician advised that the fight be stopped and because of the accidental clash of heads the fight ended in a technical decision. Lopez was declared the winner 77-74 on two cards and 76-75 on a third.
Mexico City’s Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (18-0-1, 14 Kos) did his job in defeating Jerry “Shark Boy” Belmontes (18-3) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds of a junior lightweight showdown. There were no knockdowns as Belmontes showed decent defense but no offense. All three scores were 100-89 for Vargas, who picks up at the NABF and WBO Intercontinental title.
Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 Kos) cracked the right hand often to stop Joseph De Los Santos (16-13-3) in the fifth round of their middleweight contest. Charlo floored De Los Santos in round three and four and was in control all four rounds.
South El Monte’s Jojo Diaz (9-1, 5 Kos), a former US Olympian, gave Mexico’s Carlos Rodriguez a pounding for seven straight rounds until referee Raul Caiz Jr. ended the one-sided fight at 1:13 of round seven. Diaz was deadly accurate and though he never dropped Rodriguez, he was basically picking the sturdy fighter apart.
Former U.S. Olympian Errol Spence Jr. (10-0, 8 Kos) ripped a left to the body of Mexico’s Gerardo Cuevas (16-11, 14 Kos) and that was that. Though he made it until the end of round one the son of the great Pipino Cuevas surrendered in his corner.
Diego De La Hoya (2-0, 2 Kos) scorched Abraham “The Sushi Killer” Rubio (3-3-1) with lightning blows that seemed indefensible and pretty damaging. The first cousin of Oscar De La Hoya was rather patient in firing combinations while tucking in his chin. In and out he fired and occasionally pumped a jab that snapped Rubio’s head back a couple of times. Once De La Hoya got into a rhythm it was pretty much over as six blows all seemed to connect. The helpless Rubio never was dropped but referee Pat Russell was smart in stopping the overwhelming attack. De La Hoya was even too quick for the ref as he busted Rubio with one more before action ended at 2:33 of the first round for a knockout.
After a horrible first round and a mix of mostly bad eight more rounds Oxnard’s Hugo Centeno (20-0, 11 Kos) knocked Coachella’s Angel Osuna (11-4-1, 7 Kos) out of the ring to win by knockout in the 10th and final round of their middleweight clash. Centeno was knocked down in round seven in was probably behind on the score cards when he fired a four-punch combination that sent Osuna through the ropes and on the press table. He got back into the ring and beat the count but was still on wobbly legs. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight at 52 seconds of the final round. Osuna was taken out of the ring in a stretcher still groggy.
Kevin Watts (3-0) took a little over one round to zero into Alexander Arteaga (3-8) and stop him at 1:26 of round two in a welterweight contest. Watts fights out of Los Angeles.
Stephan “St. Louis” Shaw (1-0) needed only 47 seconds to knock down Jose Hermosillo (0-2) twice and win by knockout in the first round of a heavyweight fight. It was Shaw’s pro debut.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?