Wednesday, October 04, 2023  |


Jonathan Lopez wants to put the junior lightweight division on notice as he takes on Eduardo Baez

Jonathan Lopez - Photo courtesy of Chiquita Boxing
Fighters Network

Jonathan Lopez wants to send a message to the rest of the junior lightweight division.

The unbeaten Lopez will take a step-up in opposition as he faces Eduardo Baez tonight at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. The 10-round fight will headline an eight-bout MarvNation card.

The Lopez-Baez fight also marks another chapter in the heated rivalry between fighters from Puerto Rico and Mexico. Promoter Marv Rodriguez believes this is a fight that could produce fireworks.

“This is a great match-up and an amazing main event,” Rodriguez told The Ring Wednesday night. “Lopez is part of Team Canelo. He is trained by Eddy Reynoso (who also trains Ring magazine super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez). We were able to make this fight with No Boxing, No Life and Clase y Talento, which Eddy represents.

“Baez is no pushover. He’s going to come to win. This could produce another classic in the rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico. It’s going to be a great show.”

Lopez (10-0, 7 knockouts), who resides in Orlando, Florida, last fought on May 3, stopping Osvaldo Nunez Medina in the second round. In his previous fight on October 22, Lopez knocked out Ulises Suarez Ortega, also in the second round.

The 20-year-old has knocked out his last five opponents.

Baez will be a significant step-up in opposition for Lopez, as he has faced the better foes between the two and has a style that could give Lopez problems.

The 27-year-old Baez (21-4-2, 7 KOs), who is originally from Mexicali, Mexico and now resides directly across the U.S. border in Calexico, California, lost a close split-decision to once-beaten fringe featherweight contender Arnold Khegai. In his previous fight on August 20, Baez was knocked out by then-WBO world featherweight titleholder Emanuel Navarrete in the sixth round in a fight Baez was up on two of the three judges’ scorecards at the time of the knockout.

Despite losing three of his last four bouts, with the other loss coming at the hands of junior featherweight contender Ra’eese Aleem, Baez has recently defeated unbeaten prospects, including Narek Abgaryan in December 2021 and Abimael Ortiz, three months later.

In the co-feature, female junior bantamweight contender Adelaida Ruiz of Los Angeles will square off against Argentina’s Maria Cecilia Roman in a 10-round bout.

Ruiz (13-0-1, 7 KOs) stopped Martha del Angel Diaz in the first round of her last bout on March 25. In her previous fight on September 8, the 34-year-old was able to avenge a technical draw in March 2021 by defeating Sonia Osorio by unanimous decision.

Roman (17-7-1) defeated Eliana Orecchia by unanimous decision in her last bout on November 11. The 40-year-old challenged Ebanie Bridges for the IBF world bantamweight title on March 26 of last year, losing by unanimous decision.

Junior middleweight prospect Fernando Vargas, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs) of Las Vegas, Nevada will face late-sub Heber Rondon (20-4, 13 KOs) in a six-round bout. Despite having lost his last four bouts, the Venezuela-born Rondon will be a step-up in opposition for Vargas, who has not fought past the third round.

In light heavyweight action, hard-hitting Lawrence King (12-1, 10 KOs) of nearby San Bernardino will square off against former fringe middleweight contender Marco Reyes (37-9, 28 KOs) of Chihuahua, Mexico in an eight-round bout.

Lightweight Mario Ramos (10-0, 8 KOs) of nearby San Diego will face Mexico’s Jesus Cruz Silva (6-2, 1 KO) in a six-round bout.

Three more fights will round out the card.

Boxing greats Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns are scheduled to appear. Doors open at 5 p.m. and first bell is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time.


Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]