by Francisco Salazar
Featherweight Luis Alberto Lopez defeated fringe contender Ray Ximenez by technical decision late Thursday night at Legends Casino in Toppernish, Washington.
The win marked fifth in a row for Lopez, who resides in Tijuana, Mexico.
Ximenez was the favorite going into the fight, but was unable to put forth a consistent offense against the awkward and aggressive Lopez.
From the opening bell, Lopez was on the attack, landing several right hands to the head of Ximenez, who was momentarily stunned on two occasions during the opening round.
Ximenez, who resides in the Dallas area, became the aggressor by the fourth round. Ximenez attempted to walk Lopez down, but Lopez connected with a counter hook or right cross to the head.
A clash of heads opened a cut over the left eye of Ximenez during the sixth round. As the bout progressed into the second half of the fight, blood continued to seep out of the cut, promoting referee Jack Reiss to stop the fight on the advice of the ringside physician before the start of round nine.
Scores were 80-72, 78-74, and 77-75 for Lopez, who improves to 17-1, 8 knockouts. With the win, Lopez won a regional title belt and a possible top-15 ranking by the WBO.
“To the tell you the truth, I very happy (with my performance),” said Lopez after the fight. “My dream has been to win a (title) belt. I enjoy watching boxing videos and I learn the best aspects and skills from each of them. I like to learn about boxing.”
Thursday marked Lopez’s first fight outside Mexico.
Ximenez, who had won his previous five bouts since a close decision loss to former world junior lightweight title challenger Christopher Diaz, drops to 18-2, 4 KOs.
Light heavyweight Taylor Shirley (2-0, 1 KO) of Alaska defeated Luis Iniguez by unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 for Shirley.
Welterweight Nicholas Jefferson (8-0, 5 KOs) remained unbeaten by winning a four-round unanimous decision over veteran Antonio Neal (4-10, 3 KOs). Neal has now lost his last five bouts.
In a clash of unbeaten light heavyweights, Juan Jackson (2-0) outpointed John Peak (3-1, 1 KO) over four rounds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing