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Teofimo Lopez Defeats Jamaine Ortiz By UD Despite Evenly-Matched Bout

Teofimo Lopez Defeats Jamaine Ortiz By UD Despite Being Evenly-Matched featured image
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 08: Teofimo Lopez celebrates defeating Jamaine Ortiz to retain the WBO junior welterweight title at Michelob ULTRA Arena on February 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Teofimo Lopez and Jamaine Ortiz headlined a Top Rank card at the Michelob Ultra Arena on Thursday, February 8th, and as can often be the case in boxing, controversy ensued following the announcement that Lopez had won by unanimous decision with scores of 117-111 and 115-113 twice. While neither fighter was super aggressive or dominant, there was an inkling that a draw would have made more sense for the two, and the 117-111 score in particular seems utterly egregious given the match did not reflect such a wide score at any point during the match.

Both Teofimo Lopez (20-1, 13 KO’s) and Jamaine Ortiz (17-2-1, 8 KO’s) did not exactly provide the most entertaining bout of the evening with Lopez applying pressure where he could while Ortiz preferred to box from the outside. Because there were not that many exchanges between the two, it became a difficult match to judge from the beginning. The two were involved in a title match at super lightweight/junior welterweight where Lopez’ WBO title was put on the line.

An argument can be made for either fighter to have won, and not merely Lopez. Lopez’ style did not prove as effective as when he defeated Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KO’s) last year as Ortiz opted not to stand before him and brawl, but Lopez was clearly the more effective aggressor. However, Lopez’ inability to cut off the ring properly caused issues for himself as Ortiz either countered effectively every time Lopez sought to get closer.

Jamaine Ortiz himself did not fight a perfect fight, but neither did he fight a sloppy one. Showing a surprising swivel from his usual style of fighting which mostly involved him pressuring fighters and make an impact in the pocket, this time Ortiz sought to box at range while remaining mobile and wary. While his boxing proved to be effective, Ortiz did not show as much aggression as he could as Lopez kept coming forward―especially in the later rounds when Ortiz started tiring. However, Ortiz’ boxing was effective, even if more activity during the rounds could have served him better on the scorecards.

The nature of the rounds also did not see a clear winner emerge, and both Lopez and Ortiz displayed pros and cons that resulted in an extremely close match. However, after twelve rounds, the unanimous decision (UD) score that emerged in favor of Lopez can be considered quite questionable as the fight was simply too narrow for such a decision to emerge.

The conclusion of the match resulted in Jamaine Ortiz likely coming out as the moral winner despite his loss, having seemingly shown more improvement as opposed to his previous matches than Lopez had. Teofimo Lopez himself was also not bad but had simply not shown anything different from his previous two matches, and his points win did not come by anything spectacular that he did.

Despite the controversy, Lopez retained his WBO 140 lbs title for the first time during his twentieth win over Ortiz. While his performance does not suggest any deterioration in any manner, he can still substantially grow as a fighter and ensure that he can close out matches effectively and dominantly.

The co-main event of the Top Rank-promoted card featured American lightweight contender Keyshawn Davis (10-0, 7 KO’s) and Puerto Rican fighter Jose Pedraza (29-6-1, 14 KO’s). Davis, who is seeing to move up and become a legitimate contender at 135 lbs, benefitted from the fact that Pedraza―a former world champion―was clearly not accustomed to his weight due to not having fought at 135 lbs since 2019.

Teofimo Lopez Defeats Jamaine Ortiz By UD Despite Being Evenly-Matched image 1
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 08: Keyshawn Davis punches Jose Pedraza during their lightweight bout at Michelob ULTRA Arena on February 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Keyshawn Davis won all the rounds and eventually stopped Pedraza in the sixth round of their ten-round bout, but the fight was clearly a mismatch with Pedraza having fought with debilitating disadvantages revolving around him having wear and tear after more than a decade of fighting, and him displaying some discomfort at fighting at 135 lbs―likely due to the weight cut he had to endure.

While Davis has been appropriately matched in his career thus far, he will be required to face better―and perhaps younger and fitter―opponents to truly get him ready for world title opportunities, and opponents.