Jonathan Lopez outpoints Eduardo Baez, Fernando Vargas Jr. and Adelaida Ruiz remain unbeaten
TEMECULA, California – Statement made.
Jonathan Lopez put the featherweight division on notice Friday night, dropping former world title challenger Eduardo Baez once en route to a 10-round unanimous decision victory before a near sellout crowd at the Pechanga Resort and Casino.
All three judges scored the bout 97-92 for Lopez, who improved to 11-0, 7 knockouts.
The southpaw Lopez was effective from the opening bell, connecting with left and right uppercuts to Baez’s head. Baez made it easy for Lopez to connect as Baez would charge in, hoping to connect with overhand right crosses or two-punch combinations.
Baez had his best moment in round 3, connecting with straight right hands to the head as he had Lopez pinned against the ropes. Lopez would settle into a rhythm by the fifth round. He would utilize angles to connect with two and three-punch combinations to the head. Lopez would also mix his attack, landing lead left crosses to the head as Baez continued to charge into Lopez’s punch range.
During the fifth and sixth rounds, Lopez would sit down on his punches, continuing to throw lead left crosses and right hooks to the head. A cut developed over the right eye of Baez, likely from a punch during the middle rounds.
Sensing he was down on the scorecards, Baez went on the attack in the eighth round. He threw an abundance of punches, finding some success to the head and body. Midway through the ninth round, a left cross landed on Baez’s chin, staggering him across the ring. Baez backed into a corner, prompting referee Ray Corona to administer a standing eight-count, ruling the corner padding held Baez up on his feet.
Lopez outboxed Baez during the final round, content to fight from outside as Baez looked to land one big punch to the head.
The 20-year-old Lopez was coming off a win in his last bout on May 3, knocking out Osvaldo Nunez Medina in the second round. Prior to the Baez fight, Lopez had stopped his previous five opponents.
Lopez is trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
Baez, who is originally from Mexicali, Mexico and now resides across the U.S. border in Calexico, California, falls to 21-5-2, 7 KOs.
In his last bout on December 10, the 27-year-old 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.
In the co-feature bout, junior middleweight prospect Fernando Vargas, Jr. won by knockout after late-sub Heber Rondon (20-5, 13 KOs) of Venezuela did not answer the bell for the third round.
The 26-year-old Vargas, who resides in North Las Vegas, Nevada, improved to 9-0, 9 KOs.
Vargas, the son of former two-time world junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas, was the more-effective fighter, outboxing and landing the more-telling punches.
With about a minute left in the second round, Rondon threw a left straight left, but began wincing in pain. Rondon attempted to fight on, but struggled to throw anything of substance as the round progressed. At the end of the round, Rondon’s corner threw in the towel as Rondon, who has now lost his last five bouts, complained of pain to his left shoulder.
Junior bantamweight contender Adelaida Ruiz dropped Maria Cecilia Roman once en route to a knockout win in the eighth round.
Ruiz, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Lynwood, improved to 14-0-1, 8 KOs. She is currently ranked No. 5 by The Ring at 115 pounds.
The 34-year-old Ruiz was effective in mixing her attack throughout the fight, but was most effective in throwing and landing left hooks to the body.
Roman was game, but received punishment in each passing round. Towards the end of the sixth round, a counter right to the head momentarily dropped Roman to one knee. Roman continued to fight on, but Ruiz continued to land at will.
Midway through the eighth round, a combination to the head staggered Roman. Ruiz went in to end matters, backing Roman against the ropes, forcing referee Ray Armendariz to stop the fight at 1:19.
Roman, who resides in San Juan, Argentina, falls to 17-8.
Hard-hitting light heavyweight Lawrence King won by knockout after former fringe middleweight contender Marcos Reyes of Mexico (37-10, 28 KOs) remained on his stool after the sixth round. The southpaw King was the more-accurate fighter, breaking Reyes down, who was game, but outclassed.
Although he had his moments in the middle rounds, Reyes’ corner told referee Eddie Hernandez that Reyes would not answer the bell for round seven. The southpaw King, who resides in nearby San Bernardino, improved to 13-1, 11 KOs.
Junior middleweight prospect Mario Ramos of nearby San Diego stopped Mexico’s Jesus Cruz Silva (6-3, 1 KO) at 2:09 of the fourth round. The 23-year-old Ramos was fighting for the first time in almost a year and improved to 11-0, 9 KOs.
In junior welterweight action, Jimmie Nunez of Temecula improved to 4-1, 4 KOs, stopping Denver’s Deljerro Revello (1-6) at 1:39 of the fourth round. Revello went down from an accumulation of punches in round 2.
Middleweight Orlando Salgado of Grand Junction, Colorado defeated Squire Redfern of Temecula by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 39-37 for Salgado, who improved to 3-2, 2 KOs. Redfern was making his pro debut.
In the opening bout of the MarvNation Promotions card, heavyweight Mike Diorio of Cortland, New York won his first pro fight, defeating Ian Morgan by unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 for Diorio (1-5-1).
Both Redfern and Morgan also reside in Temecula and were making their professional debuts.
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]