By Mark Eisner: IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) retained his title against voluntary challenger Joet Gonzalez (26-4, 15 KOs), beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision on Friday night at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Although ESPN commentators had it scored closely, the judges gave it to Lopez by the scores 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112. Boxing News 24 had Lopez winning 8-4 as he landed the harder, cleaner shots and got the better of the action.
Lopez gassed out in the second half of the fight, allowing Joet to come back and win some rounds, but still got the better of the action with his harder shots. By the end of the fight, Joet’s face was badly swollen, showing the damage that Lopez’s hard shots had done.
The live boxing results will be posted below of tonight’s action.
- In the chief support bout, junior middleweight contender Xander Zayas (17-0, 11 KOs0 stopped Roberto Valenzuela Jr. (21-5, 20 KOs) in the fifth round due to a bad cut on the bridge of the nose of the 24-year-old Mexican fighter. Valenzuela suffered the cut in the third, and was bleeding badly enough for referee Mark Nelson to eventually wave it off in round five. Twice in round four. Nelson stopped the action due to the gushing blood coming from Valenzuela’s nose and marched him to the ropes to have the ringside doctor examine it. Although the bleeding was stopped in between rounds, it immediately started bleeding again at the start of the fight. At this point, Nelson decided to half the fight because Valenzuela wasn’t landing anything due to the speed & movement of the 21-year-old Puerto Rican fighter Zayas, and he had no chance of winning. Earlier in the fight, Zayas knocked Valenzuela down twice in round one. The first knockdown was from a jab from Zayas. In the second, Zayas pulled Valenzuela down a wrestling move and then hit him while he was falling. The referee, Nelson failed to see that Zayas had pulled him down, and he gave him credit for a bogus knockdown. It’s difficult to say for sure whether Zayas is future world champion material. With there being four belts, he’ll obviously win one at some point, but if he has to go through someone like Tim Tszyu to win one, it’s unlikely that he will. Top Rank is too smart to put Zayas in with Tszyu, through, because he can be hurt and doesn’t react well to getting hit.
- Lightweight prospect Emiliano Vargas (7-0, 6 KOs) stopped previously unbeaten Spaniard Alejandro Guardado (5-1, 1 KOs) in the third round of a scheduled six round contest. The 19-year-old Vargas hurt Guardado with a right hand to the head, causing him to back up against the ropes and shell up. Vargas unloaded a barrage of punches, hitting him with a nice uppercut to the head. Guardado then moved to the center of the ring and looked like he wanted to take a knee. However, the referee Lee Rogers stepped in and halted the fight to save Guardado from taking any more punishment. The time of the stoppage was at 1:07 of the third.
- Jamaine Ortiz (17-1-1,8 KOs) came off a long layoff to defeat Antonio Moran (29-6-1,20 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision in lightweight action. Ortiz was mostly looking to pot shot, move & come in the last ten seconds of every round to steal it. Using movement, illegal spin moves & rabbit punching, Ortiz boxed his way to a wide decision by the scores 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93. Ortiz was hurt by a body shot in the second round, and staggered in the sixth and eighth rounds. Moran was hurting Ortiz to the body the entire night, causing him to use nonstop movement. Boxing News 24 scored it for Moran. He was the better fighter, pushing the fight, and was hurting Ortiz with body shots all night. The performance from Ortiz, who was the A-side, leaves a lot of doubt about his future in the lightweight division. The way he looked tonight, he won’t do well against the top five level opposition.
- Featherweight Rubin Villa (21-1, 7 KOs) used his superior boxing skills to grind out an eight round unanimous decision over the tough Colombian Brandon Valdes (15-4, 7 KOs). Valdes started fast, appearing to win the first two rounds against the slow-starting Villa. However, in the second half of the fight, Villa took over, landing a lot of nice shots to win the decision. The scores were 78-74, 78-74, and 78-74. The win for the 26-year-old Villa was his third since losing a close twelve round unanimous decision to Emanuel Navarrete in October 2020 in a battle for the vacant WBO featherweight title.
Joet Gonzalez will be trying to save his floundering career tonight by taking on Luis Alberto Lopez, hoping to take his IBF featherweight title from him on ESPN+. The action kicks off at 10 p.m. ET for the main card, which includes 154-lb contender Xander Zayas. The preliminary card starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Luis Alberto Lopez has risen from obscurity in the last two years, defeating former amateur star Gabriel Flores Jr., Isaac Lowe, Josh Warrington, and Michael Conlan.
The way that Lopez dominated Warrington in his hometown was impressive, dealing with an angry crowd and a referee that stood & did nothing while he was fouled frequently.
Lopez now gets to showcase his talent tonight against a fighter who will give it his best and won’t be hard to find.
It’ll be interesting to see if Joet Gonzalez can hang for the twelve rounds and take punishment without getting stopped for the first time in his career.
Can Joet Gonzalez unseat IBF 126-lb champion Luis Alberto Lopez or will he get soundly beaten like we saw three times before when he lost to these fighters?
- Shakur Stevenson
- Emanuel Navarrete
- Isaac Dogboe
Joet is a scrapper type of fighter who entertains but lacks the talent to win titles. It’s a little off-putting that he’s being given a title shot based on popularity rather than on achievement.
When you get a title shot based on popularity rather than on winning fights, it makes the sport look more like professional wrestling.
Glendora, California native Joet Gonzalez (26-3, 15 KOs) has a 3-3 record in his last six fights and is being given another chance.
Gonzalez is popular in the Southern California area of the U.S., which is why he’s being given his third shot at a world title since 2019 despite sporting a 0-3 record in battling for belts.
There are some good fights out there for Luis Alberto Lopez if he gets past Joet Gonzalez tonight. Fans would like to see Lopez fight some of these guys:
Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) is coming off two big wins over Michael Conlan in Ireland and Josh Warrington in Leeds.
Tonight, he’ll be defending his IBF 126-lb belt for the second time since winning it last year. Lopez-Gonzalez will occur at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The main card for tonight starts at 10 p.m. ET
Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Joet Gonzalez
Xander Zayas vs. Roberto Valenzuela Jr
Emiliano Vargas vs. Alejandro Guardado
“This is my third opportunity for a world title, but there’s going to come a point where I need to actually win this,” said Joet Gonzalez to Top Rank Boxing about his fight tonight against IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez.
“I’m willing to fight the best fighters. That’s why I’m here.”
“It has been Luis against the world. With the right mentality and discipline, you can accomplish anything,” said Luis Alberto Lopez. “He’s never fought anyone like me, and he’ll understand what that means.
“Joet Gonzalez has lost title shots before, but only to truly great fighters,” said Mark Kriegel. “Now, if he’s running out of changes, this will be the best he ever gets.
“As for the champion, it’s an opportunity that few ever thought he’d have. The main event on national TV and an occasion to ask why no one ever bet on Luis Alberto Lopez except for Lopez himself.
“He beat the A-side prospect [Gabriel Flores Jr.], the Englishmen in Leeds [IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington and an Irishman [Michael Conlan] in Belfast. But a fighter [Joet Gonzalez] who has earned his way back might be the most dangerous of them all.
“Either way, champion and challenger have one thing in common. They’ve gotten here the hard way,” said Kriegel about Lopez & Gonzalez.