We like Josh Warrington, the IBF Featherweight Champ likes a tear up, he’s personable and tells a very good story but in the ring, he has a strength and durability which boxing fans really like.
When he won the belt in masterful fashion against a still dangerous Kiko Martinez, we celebrated, it was what Warrington deserved.
Luis Alberto Lopez was stepping up here. There’s no template for a world title fight, you can’t rehearse it. He was 15-0 coming in, with some identifiable opponents on his record, but didn’t set too many alarm bells ringing.
They’re ringing now…
Let’s first say that it was fabulous. No one took a backwards step, although Lopez showed some kidology, more of which later.
From the beginning, they traded. Warrington hit with a left hook in round 1 and despite a bloodied nose, went back to the hooks. Lopez had an unconventional approach, almost seeming to jump into shots; you couldn’t miss that work and neither could the judges.
Lopez did seem flashier and when the champ caught him with a lovely left hook in the third, he fired back immediately with a body shot.
Credit; Bad Left Hook
Warrington might have been better to continue his work to the body, but even better would have been a good jab; Lopez wanted to mix it up, have a fight, something Warrington is also often keen on. But a jab would have given him time, kept Lopez away a bit and allowed him to do his work in a, yes, more eye-catching way.
Unconventional yes, sometimes odd even, described by Sporting News as;
‘…simultaneously awkward and brash…’
he seemed to forget to defend himself when Warrington got some punches in during the 6th, but smiled even when smacked by a hook. Lopez dug shots in, seemed to throw more but also seemed to exhibit an understanding of the game.
There was a clash of heads in the early on, no one’s fault, but Lopez didn’t half take his time to recover. And then there was the 9th; Warrington crunched a punch into his jaw just as he danced in, and then?
Lopez complained he had been hit. Not below the belt. Not on the back of the head. On the back. The back. Unusual, isn’t it? Still, he got a few seconds breathing space during a rather torrid time. Kidology? Smarts.
As Bad Left Hook reported;
‘I had to respect him, coming into his city in front of his people. I knew he was a dirty fighter, but he still surprised me,” he said. “He was hitting me to the legs, to the glutes, and the referee I didn’t feel did his job tonight. I’m very surprised. You have to look after boxers to make sure they don’t suffer any injuries. It’s a dangerous sport…’
The Later Rounds
They were absolutely Warrington’s. In the 12th, Lopez looked really worried, as the champ came at him, he stopped momentarily when feeling a left hook in round 11, when Warrington also had real success from a left hook, putting Lopez on his bike.
But it was too little too late. Warrington might have turned this if had started earlier, but perhaps his opponent was too unconventional to work out and only allowed the shots when he tired down the straight.
It was close, 114-114 from judge Howard Foster and 115-113 from the other two, so there will be discussion.
For Lopez? Whatever he wants. Fame. Fortune. A long reign as IBF Featherweight champ. The latter is possible because he is so very unpredictable, so unexpected; you’ll need time to work him out, which might be too late.
For Warrington? He likes a comeback, just look as his work against Kiko Martinez to win his belt back; he’ll surely want that rematch clause option, study the fighter, change it up.
And he’ll have to, Lopez isn’t made for Warrington, he’s a conundrum, the fighter will have to reign in his natural will. And that will be fascinating.