In a Fight of The Year candidate Marcos “El Chino” Maidana (34-3, 31 KO’s), of Margarita, Argentina, capped a spectacular night of fights with a sixth-round technical knockout win over “The Riverside Rocky’’ Josesito Lopez (30-6, 18 KO’s) of Riverside, Calif., before a loud and raucous record sell-out crowd of 8,629 at the Home Depot Center Saturday.
In a tremendous all-action slugfest in the semi-main that preceded Maidana-Lopez, Cuban Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 KO’s) of Houston, Texas, overcame two knockdowns to capture the vacant WBA Interim Super Welterweight World Championship with an exciting 10th-round technical knockout of Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo (22-3, 18 KO’s) of Los Angeles.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated Jermell Charlo (21-0, 10 KO’s), of Houston, registered a close, unanimous 12-round decision win over Demetrius Hopkins (33-3-1, 13 KO’s) of Philadelphia, Pa. The tactical match was scored 115-13 on all three judges’ scorecards.
“What we saw tonight is what the people want to see,” Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions said afterward. “What do you want to see next? The Broner-Malignaggi winner (they fight June 22 on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.) vs. Maidana? Oh my God, now that would be exciting. That would be an amazing matchup.
“This was an incredible night of boxing. People want to see exciting fighters like Angulo, Lopez and Maidana.”
The sold-out record attendance number eclipsed the old mark of 8,226 fans who witnessed Israel Vazquez-Raul Marquez III in March of 2008.
While the SHOWTIME unofficial scorers (Steve Farhood, Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi) had Maidana up 48-47 at the time of the main event stoppage, Lopez actually was ahead on two of the official scorecards, 48-47, and behind on the other, 48-47, when the fight was called by the referee following a devastating Maidana overhand right that staggered Lopez.
“My character and my guts got me this victory,” said Maidana, who retained his WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship. “In the second round, he hit me in my hip and it felt like I was paralyzed. The pain lasted for two rounds and that’s when he landed the shots, but my desire to win got me through it. He underestimated my power and I knew I could knock him out.
“It was a good job by the ref to stop it, but I wanted to keep fighting,’’ Maidana added.
Said Lopez: “He hurt me a little, but we’re professionals. He stunned me with a good right hand, but I was not out of the fight.”
Like the main event, the Lara-Angulo affair was halted as well, after Angulo turned his back after being hit above the left eye and suffering a reported broken orbital bone. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. signaled the end of the fight with Lara ahead 85-84 on two of the judges’ scorecards and Angulo ahead 86-83 on the other.
“Angulo started tough but I hung in there,” said Lara, who overcame knockdowns in the fourth and ninth rounds. “I knew I was still in the fight after I got knocked down. I knew I was still winning.”
Charlo captured Hopkins’ USBA Junior Middleweight Championship and retained his WBC Continental Americas Super Welterweight Championship in the close victory.
“He was hard to hit, hard to get to,” Charlo told SHOWTIME’S Jim Gray after the fight with the nephew of legendary, all-time great Bernard Hopkins. He later added: “I got hit with a lot of Bernard Hopkins-type head butts.”
Earlier on SHOWTIME EXTREME, former WBA Interim Super Lightweight World Champion Johan Perez (17-1-1, 12 KO’s) of Caracas, Venezuela, handed previously undefeated Yoshihiro Kamegai (22-1-1, 19 KO’s) of Sapporo, Japan, the first loss of his career with a 10-round unanimous decision to win the vacant WBA International welterweight belt. The judges scored it 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93.
In a heavyweight scrap, former USC football player Gerald Washington (8-0, 5 KO’s) of Los Angeles made his national television debut, winning an eight-round unanimous decision over veteran Sherman Williams (35-13-2, 19 KO’s) of Vero Beach, Fla. Washington won by 79-72 on all three judges’ cards.
Also on SHOWTIME EXTREME, fight fans got a good look at 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. (5-0, 3 KO’s) of South El Monte, Calif. Diaz won by technical knockout over Rigoberto Casillas (8-11-1, 6 KO’s) of San Diego, who did not come out for the fourth and final round in the featherweight contest.