“JuanMa” and “El Ciclon” Conquer, Fueling Flames of a Featherweight Future
By Luis Cortes III, MaxBoxing (Jan 24, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor, DHB)  
Juan Manuel Lopez, 28-0 (25), dominated the skilled Steven Luevano, 37-2-1 (15), over the course of their fight to capture for Luevano’s WBO featherweight championship. Luevano tried to patiently circle the ring in order to set up some hard shots, but it was Lopez who found a home for his thudding lead left hands. Lopez also showed a powerful stick that pushed Luevano back, even when it was blocked.

As the rounds continued to go by, Luevano’s face showed the wear and tear of what he was going through. Much credit is due to Luevano, who continued to try as he was also able to land some clean shots with lefts that actually started to puff up the eye of the challenger. Solid right hooks were incorporated into the mix by Lopez and this seemed to open everything up for him.

When the bell rang to start round seven, “JuanMa” continued to circle and wait for the right moment. That moment came when he was able to land a sick right hand, upper cut slash hook that clearly rocked Luevano’s bell. As he backed himself away from Lopez in order to try and get a quick moment of respite, Lopez stalked his way back inside and landed a few more power shots that floored Luevano against the corner padding. Luevano rose to his feet and displayed his heart and determination by showing that he wanted to continue on. However, this showing was coming from a fighter who clearly was on shaky legs with a foggy head. Referee Benji Estevez properly called a halt to the action at 44 seconds into the seventh round. With the victory, Lopez continues to stir the talk of a future match up with WBA featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa.

In the opening bout of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” telecast, Yuriorkis Gamboa, 17-0 (15), showed why he is already being considered a serious threat for all fighters in and around the featherweight division. For the always rugged and tough Rogers Mtagwa, 26-14-2 (18) with one no-contest, he was not able to survive the opening few rounds and get a rhythm going like he did against Lopez. I know I’ve mentioned it the past that it was going to take more than one punch to take out Mtagwa and Gamboa was not afraid to oblige. “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” was the surgeon on this night and it was clear after the first left hook landed that he was working with a scalpel.

Mtagwa, who is always sturdy on his feet, was actually rocked on several occasions by Gamboa; who continued to land hard, single shots throughout the first stanza, including a flush shot that floored the normally resilient Tanzanian. As the second round started, it was clear that Mtagwa was clearly inside the ring with a man that is just, flat out, more skilled. More of the same continued in the second round with Mtagwa being rocked and dropped twice. Finally, the fight was stopped after one last shot floored Mtagwa at the 2:35 mark. Gamboa retained his WBA strap and looks forward to fighting anyone in and around his division.

Off TV Results:

John Duddy, 28-1 (18), kicked off what he claims will be a big year for him with a display of power. Duddy made quick work of Juan Astorga, 14-4-1 (9) with one no-contest, in the first round by opening the bout with power shots that landed crisply on “The Aztec Warrior.” After suffering his first knockdown, Astorga was slammed with a huge left hook to the body that made it clear the fight was over. The action was waved off at 1:55. Next up for Duddy is a date on the March 13 undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey.

Pawel Wolak, 26-1 (17), showed improved boxing skills by keeping Ishmail Arvin, 15-2-4 (7), at bay with effective jabs. Each jab set up straight rights and left hooks both to the body and head. After eight one-sided rounds, Wolak walked away with two score cards reading 79-73 and one with a clean sweep at 80-72.

Chris Algieri, 10-0 (5), had a tougher time than everyone was expecting when he was taken the distance by James Hope, 4-4 (4). Hope was ready to just get it on and brawl from the opening bell. Algieri was able to move and box well in order to avoid the pressure, but, to Hope’s credit, he was able to slam several counters off Algieri’s face, which was red and accompanied a bloody left eye. Once Algieri was able to adjust to Hope, he took control by rocking Hope in the fifth with a sweet counter left hook as Hope pressed forward. The scores after six rounds were 59-55, and 58-56 (twice).

Jorge Diaz improved his record to 12-0 (8) with an impressive first round knockout win. Diaz would drop Tommy Atencio, 4-4 (2), twice, finishing him off at 1:27.

In the second bout of the evening, Tommy Rainone improved his record to 13-3 (4) by winning a four-round unanimous decision over Gerardo Prieto, 6-8-1. Rainone landed a stiff left hand counter in the second round that dropped Prieto and was simply too much for his game Mexico City rival, overall.

Carlos Negron, 7-0 (5), opened up the show from New York by going the distance for a six-round unanimous decision over Wilson Garret, 7-3 (2). Early on in the contest, Negron forgot about the number one punch (the jab) and paid the price by getting hit with some hard left hook counters. Unfortunately for Garret, Negron responded in the third round by employing his long stick in order to whip hooks to both Wilson’s head and body.

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