By Anthony Springer Jr. at ringside
Photos: Chris Cozzone
WBC super welterweight champion Saul Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) scored a fifth round TKO over game Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Canelo dropped Lopez with lefts to the liver in round two and again in round three. Canelo battered him to the deck again with a barrage of punches at the end of round four. Referee Joe Cortez waved it off in round five. Time was 2:55. It was announced before the bout that this will be Cortez’ last fight.
Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) snared the WBC featherweight title and became a two-division champion with an eighth round technical decision over reigning titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-8, 45 KOs). The pair clashed heads early in the bout resulting in a nasty cut atop Ponce de Leon’s head. When the fighters knocked heads again in the eighth, the resulting cut over the eye of Gonzalez forced referee Kenny Bayless to halt the contest. The judges scored it 77-74, 79-72, 79-72 for the new champion. Ponce De Leon dropped Gonzalez at the end of round six.
In a total war, former two division champ Marcos Maidana (32-4, 29 KOs) overcame apparent fatigue and an opponent that wouldn’t quit to earn a stoppage against Jesus Soto Karass (26-7-3, 17 KOs) at 43 seconds in round eight to claim the WBA intercontinental welterweight title. After the bout got personal as a result of some late hits to end rounds, Maidana dropped Soto Karass at the end of the seventh and stormed out in the eighth, blasting Soto Karass with a series of stiff right jabs. When Soto Karass covered up against the ropes, referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the bout.
Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KOs) gave a crowd pleasing performance, retaining the IBF bantamweight strap in a route over Eric Morel (46-4, 23 KOs). The Puerto Rican found himself outgunned from the opening bell. Santa Cruz’ body shots early on paid dividends as the fight wore on. Morel opened up the fifth round on his bicycle, allowing Santa Cruz to fire at will. When Morel’s gloves dropped, he was tagged, when they were raised, his body was battered. Upon request from Morel’s corner, the bout was halted at the close of the round.
Unbeaten jr lightweight Francisco Vargas (12-0-1, 9 KOs) capped off the night’s undercard with an offensive packed win over Houston’s Victor Sanchez (3-4-1). The two men showed little defense and went toe-to-toe quite literally from bell to bell. The harder punching Vargas pitched a near shutout by scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
Andres Gutierrez (23-0-1, 19 KOs) won a one sided affair against Carlos Valcarcel (12-6-4, 5 KOs) in featherweight action. The Mexican pugilist battered Valcarcel almost exclusively with the left hand in the early rounds. Though Valcarcel came alive midway through the fight, it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. Gutierrez took the win by scores of 59-55, 60-54 and 59-56.
Jr lightweight Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (23-2, 21 KOs) stopped Carlos Claudio (15-9-3, 8 KOs) at 1:44 in the second round. A stiff body shot followed by a hard jab forced Claudio to a knee. Claudio rose to his feet but referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the bout.
Unbeaten super welterweight Eddie Gomez (10-0, 8 KOs) stopped Quinton Whitaker (9-10, 5 KOs) for his tenth professional win in the night’s opening bout. Whitaker was dropped twice in the second frame before being finished off in the third.