By Boxing Bob Newman at ringside
There was definitely bad blood between super featherweights Gabriel Flores, Jr. of Stockton and Mexicali’s Luis Alberto Lopez during the press conference and weigh-ins, where Flores, Jr. formed his fingers into the shape of a pistol and pointed it gang-style to Lopez’ face. That fuel carried over into the ring tonight at the AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
The shorter Lopez surprised Flores, Jr. right off the bat with a left jab to the body and hard overhand right to the jaw of Flores, Jr. Lopez continued to press the action in the second, frustrating Gabe and catching his foe with sneak rights. Lopez used his lack of height to his advantage by ducking low under many of Flores, Jr’s overhand shots. In the fourth, Lopez kept the pressure on, while Fores, Jr. tried to box and move, but Lopez wasn’t dissuaded, landed a hard left to the jaw of Flores, Jr. for his troubles. A frustrated Flores, Jr. would wave Lopez in, as fighters often do when they’re running out of ideas, hoping to catch their careless foe, running into a punch, but Lopez didn’t fall for it. Lopez’ confidence grew as the rounds progressed.
Flores, Jr. alternated between trying to be a puncher, which he isn’t, and boxing which was ineffective against the relentless, calculating Lopez. A series of right hand bombs caught Flores, Jr. flush with seconds to go in the ninth, staggering him badly, but he survived.
In the tenth, it was more of the same, Lopez looking for the finisher, while not quite finding it, punishing Flores, Jr. to the brink of of a stoppage. In the end, Lopez took it running away by scores of 98-92 and 100-90 x 2!
“I really was expecting the fight to be stopped,” said Lopez. “I was looking at the referee or even at his dad. I was looking at him, and he didn’t want to keep going, but I couldn’t stop fighting. I just kept going, and they didn’t stop the fight.
“When I fought Vences, I had a broken hand, and I wasn’t 100 percent. I was 100 percent tonight.”
Flores stated, “I give a lot of respect to this man. He’s a 126-pounder, and he fought me at 130. I was talking all that sh*t and I meant it. And I knew what I was saying was true. I just couldn’t pull it off tonight. This man should be fighting for a world title if he wants to fight for one at 126 because he was fighting at 130 and he’s a true 126-pounder. He fuc*ing embarrassed me, and for me, he was fuc*ing my body up. But I wasn’t hurt. I give it up to him.
“For me, this ain’t the end.”