Unbeaten Lopez Scores 6th Round TKO Over Vargas; Ortiz/Cordova Ends In Strange 1st Round Technical Draw

manuel lopezPHOENIX (Jan. 20, 2007) – Photo by Tom Casino - Looking more and more like a genuine contender than a prospect, undefeated southpaw Juan Manuel Lopez scored an impressive, one-sided sixth-round TKO over Cuauhtemoc Vargas in Friday’s main event on “ShoBox: The New Generation.”

The co-feature between Victor Ortiz and Manuel Cordova ended in a bizarre first-round technical draw. A match that appeared to have the makings of a terrific shootout was stopped due to a severe cut suffered by Ortiz from an inadvertent elbow by Cordova during the final 10 seconds of the session. Cordova, who was headed to the mat after a slip, caught Ortiz on the way down with an accidental elbow high on the forehead near his scalp above his right eye. It was not clear to the naked eye what had caused the severe laceration, but television replays confirmed it was an elbow.

Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc., promoted the doubleheader from the Dodge Theater in Phoenix, Ariz. It aired on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).

Lopez (15-0, 13 KOs), who was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and resides in Caguas, P.R., was making his first start in three and a half months. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 6 and World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 9 super bantamweight contender showed no signs of ring rust, however, following the longest layoff of his career.

Sharp from the outset and getting stronger and gaining momentum as the bout progressed, Puerto Rico’s 2005 pro “Prospect of the Year” coupled beautiful combinations with pinpoint power shots to beat up and batter a game Vargas (15-2-1, 10 KOs). Mere seconds before the bell sounded to begin the seventh, Vargas and his corner informed the referee to stop the contest.

“I knew I was getting to him and he was taking a lot of punches, but I was surprised when he didn’t come out,” said the rugged, physically strong, five-foot-seven, 23-year-old Lopez, who went 126-24 in the amateurs and represented Puerto Rico in the 2004 Olympic Games. “Vargas was definitely one the toughest guys I have fought so far. I am very pleased with my performance.

“I think with a little more experience, I will be ready to take on the top guys. I know it is time for me to move up. But I also know I have to be patient.’’

Vargas, of Albuquerque, N.M., by way of Mexico City, offered no excuses.

“Lopez is a good fighter, very strong,’’ said the younger cousin of Goyo and Adan Vargas, a former world featherweight champion and bantamweight contender, respectively. “He was a lot stronger than I thought he would be. This was not my night.’’

Before a freakish and disappointing finish to a scheduled eight-round junior welterweight contest that was heated and exciting for as long as it lasted, both Ortiz (16-1-1, 11 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., and Cordova (12-0-1, 8 KOs), of Pueblo, Colo., performed efficiently and confidently. Each landed solid punches, Ortiz from his lefty stance and Cordova, who switched from orthodox to southpaw.

“I am fine. I will be OK, I wanted to continue,’’ said Ortiz, who turns 20 on Jan. 31. “I am very disappointed, but I will be back. I hope we can do a rematch’’ Ortiz entered the bout having won nine straight, eight by knockout.

Cordova , who turned 22 on Jan. 17, insisted the cut was a result of a legitimate punch.

“I hit him with a good shot, a right hand. It was not an elbow,” he said. “The fight was going pretty much as I expected. I was very surprised to see him bleeding. Sure, I would fight him again.’’

Nick Charles called the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of “ShoBox” is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing.

Friday’s bouts will re-air this week as follows:


Saturday, Jan, 20, at Midnight ET/PT SHOTOO

Monday, Jan. 22, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME

Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Midnight ET/PT SHO EXTREME

Thursday, Jan. 25, at 11 p.m. ET/PT SHOTOO

The next “ShoBox” telecast is Friday, Feb. 2 (SHOWTIME, 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). Undefeated, hard-hitting junior middle James Kirkland (17-0, 15 KOs) and unbeaten junior welter Timothy "Desert Storm'' Bradley (17-0, 10 KOs) risk their unblemished records against Billy Lyell (14-3, 2 KOs) and Michael "Cold Blood'' Clark (36-4, 17 KOs), respectively, in the co-featured bouts

For more information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go to the SHOWTIME website at

Article posted on 20.01.2007

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