Gabriel Flores Jr. shocked, Junto Nakatani victorious
Luis Alberto Lopez did not follow the script, or the long odds, and dominated the previously unbeaten Gabriel Flores Jr. en route to a 10-round unanimous decision in the junior lightweight co-feature by scores of 100-90 2x and 98-92.
It was a brutal beatdown that grew worse as the fight approached the final rounds, but Flores Jr. (20-1, 7 KOs) insisted on going out for the 10th round.
Lopez (23-2, 12 KOs), who scored an upset over Andy Vences last year, kept applying the pressure and authored his most significant win to date. A natural featherweight, he’s now in the world title picture…. at two weight categories.
“I really was expecting the fight to be stopped,” Lopez said. “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 said, “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.”
Nakatani Noses Past Acosta
It was shaping up as an action classic, but a Junto Nakatani left hand shattered Angel Acosta’s nose in the bout’s opening stages, and that spelled the beginning of the end for Acosta. Nakatani defended his WBO flyweight world title with a fourth-round stoppage after referee Rocky Burke and the ringside physicians halted the fight due to the damage Acosta sustained.
Nakatani (22-0, 17 KOs), from Japan, won the vacant world title last year and made a splash in his United States debut. Acosta (22-3, 21 KOs), from Puerto Rico, previously held a world title at light flyweight and saw his two-bout winning streak come to an end.
Nakatani said, “I caught him in the first round right in the nose and I was able to use my pace to fight him, so that worked out really well. I knew (I had broken his nose). I thought it was a good win. I want to unify the titles.”