Matsuda Defeats Lopez
Naoki Matsuda (28-7-3, 11 KOs) defeated Rudy Lopez (20-4-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night at the Plaza de Toros, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, after the fight was stopped after the 8th rounds due to a severe cut on Lopez’s left eye, which had previously been opened by a left hand from Matsuda in the 5th round. At the time of the stoppage, Lopez was ahead on the scorecards and still fighting effectively. Seconds after the fight was stopped by the ringside doctor, Lopez walked across the ring and landed a right hand to the back of Matsuda’s head, while his back was turned.
The fight had a lot of importance for both fighters, as it’s the WBC eliminator bout for the right to face champion Jorge Linares. Lopez, 24, a former WBC featherweight champion, had previously been stopped by Matsuda in the 5th round on March 2007, and wanted badly to even the score. For the most part, Lopez was achieving his goal as he easily controlled the first four rounds of the fight, throwing jabs and slow hooks that kept the shorter Matsuda on the outside where he did little besides throwing an occasional pot shot.
The bout changed somewhat in the 5th round when Matsuda opened up a cut on Lopez’s left eye, courtesy of a left hand near the end of the round. Suddenly, Lopez started fighting scared at the sight of his own blood, allowing Matsuda to win the round.
Lopez came back strong in the sixth round, hurting Matsuda temporarily with a big left hand, and then landed a storm of punches while Matsuda covered up. Lopez continued fighting strong in rounds seven and eight, landing many more punches than Matsuda, who seemed more intent on landing pinpoint shots to Lopez’ left eye.
In the 8th there was a clash of heads, causing Lopez to grimace in pain and back up. Unfortunately for Lopez, the cut occurred in the same spot as his cut left eye, making it even worse. The bout was allowed to continue for the remainder of the round. However, in between rounds, the ringside doctor waved off the fight.
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