RANCHO MIRAGE, CA.----Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez stepped in the ring against Aron Martinez, a fighter ready to climb into the contender level with a win, but stopped the gritty fighter from East L.A. when he turned his back following an exchange to win by technical knockout on Thursday.
Lopez (32-6, 19 Kos) showed the crowd at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa he remains a cut above with the win over Martinez (19-3-1, 4 Kos) in the welterweight fight. It was a win he needed to remain a factor in the very crowded welterweight division.
Lopez used his lengthy jab and long punches to keep Martinez at bay for the first two rounds. Martinez seemed looking for a way to take the fight inside, but Lopez kept the long jabs and longer right hands piercing the gloves.
“I wanted to show I could fight on the outside or inside,” said Lopez. “I wanted to show my intelligence.”
In the third round both dispensed with the testing blows and began to unleash the heavy stuff. Lopez worked the body and head and a left hook opened a cut above Martinez’s eye as the round ended. The referee motioned that the cut was caused by a punch.
Martinez stepped up the action in round four and began firing combinations. Both fighters exchanged inside with combinations to the body and head. The boxer from East L.A. urged Lopez to attack but the lanky fighter waited on the outside instead. Martinez finished the round with a one-two combination.
“I’m a slow starter,” said Martinez, who said he used the first several rounds to measure Lopez’s distance. “Everybody said he was going to attack me. I was ready for it.”
With Martinez ready to exchange, Lopez attacked the body with a vengeance. Several right hand-left hook combinations to Martinez’s body echoed in the arena. On a third exchange a right hand to the body with a left hook to the head snapped Martinez’s head back and sent Vaseline flying from his face. The blow forced Martinez to turn his back and the referee stopped the fight at 1:19 of round five. Lopez jumped for joy on the ring ropes.
“He made a mistake,” said Lopez. “You never turn away like that.”
Martinez was disappointed that the fight was stopped but aware that it was a correct ruling by referee Jack Reiss. Still, he wished it would have been different.
“I was never hurt one single time,” said Martinez. “Not taking anything away from Josesito. I wasn’t doing my game plan. It happened so fast.”
San Bernardino’s Joshua Conley (8-0-1, 6 Kos) needed a little time to figure out the style of L.A.’s Jamal Harris (5-8-4) in a four round middleweight fight. After four rounds all three judges scored it 39-37 for Conley. But most of the rounds were close as Harris forced the slow-starting Conley to do the attacking. It was a mode the San Bernardino boxer was not comfortable with. The best round for Conley was the fourth when he landed a quick right-left combination in close during a clinch.
Immanuel Aleem (8-0, 4 Kos) walked in the ring looking the much bigger fighter at super middleweight and to no surprise he stopped Michael Noriega (4-3, 4 Kos) in a one-sided fight that surprisingly lasted more than one round. A counter left hook by Aleem floored Noriega at 2:04 of the second round. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight when the Mexican fighter staggered to get up.
Thomas Williams (17-0, 12 Kos) needed a little time to figure out Enrique Ornelas (34-9, 22 Kos), whose experience as a middleweight contender proved a little confusing at first. But after some solid body shots Williams was able to take Ornelas out of his offensive rhythm and drop that hammer of a left cross. Ornelas was floored twice including at 2:48 of the third round for the knockout win at light heavyweight by Williams. It was a good win for the D.C. fighter.
Moshea Aleem (4-0, 2 Kos) started fast against Utah’s Edward Cordova (4-7-1) and won a four round unanimous decision in a super middleweight contest. Cordova was able to survive all four rounds through pure grit and determination.
Juan Funez (5-0, 3 Kos) looked impressive against the concrete chin of Mexico’s Sergio Najera (6-14-2) who withstood some bunker buster bombs. The southpaw Funez had a very stiff jab going and was able to connect to the body with force. Later in the fight Funez plowed through Najera with some right hooks and left lasers. Najera took them all with a slight stagger and kept firing. A number of big left hand bombs connected solidly and after the fourth the referee stopped the fight at 2:28.
Philadelphia’s Dennis Hasson (16-0, 6 Kos) floored Mexico’s Roberto Ventura (14-9, 13 Kos) three times in the second round to win by knockout. But he came very close to the fight being stopped by an illegal blow when he fired a left hook after Ventura was already down. Referee Jack Reiss deducted a point from Hasson, who could have suffered a technical draw if Ventura opted to not continue the light heavyweight bout.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV