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Jesus Andres Cuellar destroys Juan Manuel Lopez

Juan Manuel LopezBy Dan Ambrose: Boxing fans may have seen the end of Juan Manuel Lopez’s career last Thursday night with him getting stopped in the 2nd round #1 WBA Jesus Andres Cuellar (25-1, 19 KOs) in a fight for the nterim WBA World featherweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. All the A-side fighters on this card won their fights, and there was zero drama. Each fight was so one-sided that it wasn’t even interesting.

Cuellar hurt Lopez with a left to the head after cornering him. Once he had Lopez hurt, Cuellar flurried on him until Lopez dropped face first on the canvas for a knockout. There was no doubt about it. The fight was halted and Lopez couldn’t complain this time like he’d complained after his losses to Orlando Salido.

The fight was never competitive as the southpaw Cuellar teed off on Lopez from the first seconds of the first round. He seemed to hurt Lopez with a straight left at one point in the round. By the time the round ended, Lopez had a small mouse under his left eye.

What’s hard to understand is why Lopez was allowed to fight for the interim WBA featherweight champion when he wasn’t ranked in the top 15 and with him having been knocked out in his last fight. Why would the World Boxing Association sanction a fight involving him given those circumstances? It didn’t make sense and this knockout could have been avoided altogether.

It would have been fairer to the contenders ranked in the top 15 to have had someone else fight Cuellar instead of Lopez getting the fight likely due to his name rather than what he’s done in the last three of his career, which is pretty much lose most of the time. It’ll be interesting to see if Lopez keeps getting shots at big fights after this knockout loss. I just wonder how much longer the sanctioning bodies will keep letting him get big fights with him getting knocked out each time.

For Lopez, 31, this is his 3rd defeat in his last 4 fights and a clear sign that he should hang up his gloves. Lopez has lost 4 out of his last 7 fights with all four of the defeats coming by knockout. In his fight before the Cuellar fight, he’d been knocked out in the 3rd round by Francisco Vargas last July.

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In the main event, if you want to call it that, 35-year-old #2 WBA Luis Ortiz (22-0, 19 KOs) stayed unbeaten in stopping an overmatched and much smaller #5 WBA Lateef Kayode (20-1, 16 KOs) in the 2nd round. The 6’4” Ortiz knocked Kayode with a right hand to the head. A short while later, Ortiz hurt Kayode with a left to the head after trapping him in the corner. Ortiz then flurried on the smallish 6’1” Kayode while he was against the ropes until the referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight. Once Byrd stopped the fight, Kayode started throwing punches.

Kayode had been cringing and taking heavy shots before Byrd stopped it. But once he stopped the fight, Kayode came alive with some slapping punches. Needless to say, Kayode wasn’t happy with the stoppage because he thought he was in good enough shape to continue fighting. But Byrd did Kayode a favor in halting the fight because he wasn’t going to last too much longer.

It’s hard to understand what the WBA was thinking when they ranked Kayode at No.1 in the heavyweight division, because just looking at how small and average Kayode looked, he didn’t belong ranked in the top 15 at all in my view. For starters, he looks more like 5’11” rather than 6’1”, and he doesn’t have the power to make up for his small frame. At cruiserweight, Kayode was a decent arm puncher, but even in that weight class, he couldn’t even beat a 44-year-old Antonio Tarver.

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In another mismatch on the card, undefeated middleweight contender Jermall Charlo (19-0, 15 KOs) defeated Norberto Gonzalez (20-5, 13 KOs) by a 7th round knockout. The fight was stopped by Gonzalez’s corner in the 7th due to him taking too much one-sided punishment. His corner would have done Gonzalez a big favor if they’d stopped in the 2nd round because it was clear by that point that he didn’t belong in the same ring with Charlo.

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With a 4 inch height advantage, 2nd tier welterweight Josesito Lopez (32-7, 19 KOs) looked poor in defeating little 5’6” Rafael Cobos (15-5-5, 3 KOs) by an unimpressive 8 round unanimous decision. The final judges’ scores were 80-72, 80-72 and 80-72. Lopez was able to land a lot of his shots, but he did a lot of holding. He would throw a couple of shots and then immediately hold. It was very boring to watch.

At the same time, Lopez was hit a lot by the smaller Cobos, and frequently backed up by him. Cobos had zero power and he looked like a fat super featherweight. The fact that Lopez struggled with Cobos is really telling. This isn’t the same Lopez that beat Victor Ortiz several years ago. He seems to have lost something.

What’s interesting about this fight is that Lopez will now likely take the win over Cobos and end up fighting Amir Khan in December. How Golden Boy Promotions and Al Haymon could pick Lopez as Khan’s next opponent after this performance last night is beyond me. Khan should be fighting much better opposition than this at this point in his career.

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Unbeaten welterweight Errol Spence Jr (14-0, 11 KOs) stayed unbeaten with a 2nd round stoppage win over Noe Bolanos (24-11-1, 16 KOs). Spence teed off on Bolanos for 2 one-sided rounds. After the 2nd round, Bolanos complained that he’d hurt his hand and couldn’t continue. It’s a good thing he didn’t continue because he would have been destroyed sooner or later if he’d have fought until the bitter end.

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Undefeated junior middleweight Julian Williams (17-0-1, 10 KOs) defeated Eliezer Gonzalez (14-1, 9 KOs) by an 8 round unanimous decision. The final judges scores were 80-72, 80-72 and 80-72.

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In other boxing action on the card:

Jordan Shimmel TKO 7 Joell Godfrey
Prichard Colon UD 8 Christopher Degollado
Bryant Perrella TKO 6 Victor Fonseca


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