Lopez Decisions Walker
By William MacKay: In somewhat of an upset, previously undefeated middleweight prospect Michael Walker (18-1, 12 KOs) was beaten by Mexican journeyman David Lopez (35-12, 22 KOs) by a 10-round unanimous decision on Friday night at the Sundance Square, in Fort Worth, Texas. Walker, 29, fought well in the first four rounds of the fight, but then quickly faded thereafter allowing Lopez to take over the fight and dominate the remaining rounds of the 10-round bout. The final judges’ scores were 98-92, 98-92 and 98-92.
This loss wasn’t as much of a surprise for me, since I’d personally thought that Walker had done poorly in his recent 10-round majority decision win over Antwun Echols in February. Indeed, I thought that Echols had easily won the fight and couldn’t see how Walker had won the fight given his low punch output in the fight.
Sadly, nothing much chanced since that fight for Walker, as he was badly outworked by the 30 year-old Lopez, who after the first four rounds in which he looked a little cautious of Walker, he took over the fight completely and punished him with combinations for the rest of the way. At times, Lopez, all arms, reminded me a little of Antonio Margarito in the way that he was tagging Walker with one looping hook after another. I imagine Walker might have thought so, too, as he had basically no defense for all the incoming shots from Lopez, who was like a runaway locomotive with his non-stop hooks to the head and body.
Walker, not a particularly tall middleweight at only 5’7,” seemed uncomfortable with fighting the 6’2″ Lopez at a distance in the 1st round, immediately coming inside to try and work. However, even when Walker was on the inside, which he often was in the fight, he did remarkably poor work. He seemed to be smothering his own power on the inside and wasn’t able to get any kind of speed on his shots either.
The lack of hand speed was something that was a major problem for Walker, because Lopez was often able to land faster shots, with more power on them before Walker could get his own shots in. Also, for an inside fighter, Walker rarely went to the body and seemed to be focused almost entirely on head-hunting Lopez. The problem with that is that Lopez was adept at covering up and picking off shots with his gloves.
In the third round, Walker seemed to be tiring out, as he was not able to keep up with the fast pace that he had set out in the first two rounds. Lopez then began taking advantage of this by nailing him with left hands from the outside, and right uppercuts when Walker would dive inside for his usual snail-like work. A lot of what Walker was doing was pushing on the inside, trying to get Lopez off balance so that he would clip him with a big shot. Rather than being able to make his own holes by digging to the body, Walker seemed to have a hard time to get any of his painfully slow shots to land.
After the 5th round, Lopez, now fighting with a lot of confidence, began blasting away at Walker and using him like a mini punching bag. The fight now was completely one-sided as Walker’s lack of punch output was in effect letting Lopez do whatever he wanted to. In rounds six thru eight, Walker continued pushing his way inside, where he would throw little short punches for the most part.. However, unlike in his fight with Echols, Walker wasn’t given a lot of time to work on the inside. Lopez would either tie him up in a clinch, making it necessary for the referee to break them apart, or he’d fight his way out of it and get back to the outside where he would begin pasting him as before.
In the final three rounds of the fight, Walker looked totally defeated, no longer throwing punches and appearing like he’d given up on the idea of winning the fight. Almost all of the action was done by Lopez in these final rounds, as he hit Walker at will with shots.
Before this fight, Lopez hadn’t been beaten since his 2005 bout with then tough Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga, whom he fought very tough for 11 rounds until being stopped in the 12th round. That was enough for me to know that Lopez would be more than good enough to defeat the likes of Walker, no matter how many people thought that he was good enough to possible crack the top 10 in the middleweight division.