By Francisco Salazar
Bantamweight contender Melvin Lopez outboxed Jesus Martinez over 10 rounds, winning by unanimous decision late Friday night at the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort in Miami, Florida.
Lopez relied on his quickness to connect with several combinations to the head of Martinez, who was aggressive, but mostly missed with wide hooks and crosses to the head.
Scores were 99-91, 99-91, and 98-92 for Lopez, who improves to 19-0, 10 knockouts.
The 21-year-old Lopez, who is originally from Nicaragua and now resides in Miami, is ranked No. 5 by the WBA. He is managed by William Ramirez.
Martinez (25-7, 12 KOs) has now lost six of last eight opponents. The 38-year-old Martinez is originally from Colombia and now resides in nearby Hollywood.
In junior welterweight action, Ismael Barroso of Venezuela battered Enrique Martin Escobar before ending matters at the end of the second round.
The southpaw Barroso, who challenged Anthony Crolla for the WBA lightweight title in May of 2016, dropped Escobar with a left hand to the body. Referee James Warring counted Escobar out at 2:54 of the second round.
The victory snapped a two-bout losing streak for the 36-year-old Barroso, who improves to 21-3-2, 20 KOs.
Escobar (17-6, 14 KOs), who resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has not last his last three bouts.
Fringe welterweight contender Harold Calderon of Miami dropped Nicaragua’s Carlos Velasquez (26-35-2, 14 KOs) twice in round five before referee Massimo Montanini stopped the bout at 2:51 of the fifth round. Calderon improves to 19-0, 12 KOs.
In junior lightweight action, Mark Bernaldez of the Philippines defeated gatekeeper German Meraz (62-54-2, 39 KOs) over eight rounds. Scores were 78-74, 79-73, and 80-72 in favor of Meraldez, who improves to 18-2, 12 KOs.
Featherweight Neslan Machado (16-0 1 NC, 8 KOs) defeated Brazil’s Aldimar Silva (21-17, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision over eight rounds.
Fringe welterweight contender Armando Alvarez defeated Mexico’s Juan Jesus Rivera (19-24, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision over eight rounds. Alvarez improves to 19-2, 12 KOs.
Lightweight Josec Ruiz (18-3-2, 13 KOs) of Honduras stopped Argentina’s Jose Aubel (8-3, 7 KOs) at 58 seconds of the fifth round.
Promoter Laura Ching promoted her first fight card to a sold-out crowd.
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