By: Sean Crose
Although it was known that Luis Alberto Lopez might have a fair chance to best defending IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington when they met in the ring on Saturday, it’s doubtful many expected the man to actually dethrone Warrington in front of Warrington’s hometown crowd in Leeds, England. That, however, is exactly what happened. The crowd was electric in it’s support of Warrington, but it wasn’t enough.
The opening round was fast paced and tight. The second saw Lopez countering well and landing the heavier punches. No one was in control, but the challenger Lopez looked like he might have the edge. By the third it appeared as if Lopez’ power was keeping Warrington at bay. What’s more, the challenger was awkward, back up and pouncing in at odd intervals. Warrington tried getting in behind his sharp jab in the fourth, but it seemed that, as often as not, Lopez kept the defending champion on his back foot.
If the fifth proved anything, it was how much of a warrior Warrington was. He charged forward, looking to change the tide of the fight no matter the risk…and he took some powerful shots for his effort (though he was able to land on his own, as well). By the midway point of the fight it looked like Warrington would have to land and land hard if he wished to get the better of his man. Lopez’ tendency to hold his head straight up indicated that he was apt to leave himself vulnerable. Still, it was the super confident Lopez who dominated the round, even smack talking and smiling arrogantly at his opponent throughout.
Sure enough, Warrington was able to rock his man in the seventh, though the shot didn’t appear to do much harm. With that in mind, both men appeared to be getting tired, though they still found moments to fight at a blistering pace. The eighth round proved again that Lopez was simply too awkward for his man. Although Warrington was able to land hard and clean at times, it simply wasn’t enough. With that in mind, there’s no doubting he proceeded to do some good work in the ninth, pushing the action and roughhousing.
Warrington continued to hold and put his weight on Lopez in the tenth, as he had in the ninth. Such things were able to break up Lopez’ momentum and to frustrate him as he had been frustrating Warrington throughout much of the fight. Warrington continued to push the action in the eleventh. The fight had slowed down and had become something of a war of attrition. At the end of the round, Warrington managed to hurt Lopez and hurt him bad. Lopez was able to survive the chapter, but heading back to his corner after the bell, the challenger looked plain beat up.
In the twelfth and final round, Lopez clearly did not look his best, while Warrington continued to fire away and to come forward furiously. Warrington also wasn’t unafraid of fighting dirty in the final chapter. No matter. Lopez ended up walking out of the ring the new IBF champion, courtesy of a majority decision win from the judges.
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