SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - Prospect Jose 'Wonder Boy' Lopez had a fight plan for Jonathan Oquendo, but the veteran was responsible for throwing it overboard after frustrating him for a large part of six rounds and then beating him by technical knockout during the main event that Miguel Cotto Promotions and H2 Entertainment presented at the Puerto Rico Convention Center that was televised on Saturday night by DIRECTV as part of its series "Noche de Campeones".
With the win, Oquendo improves to 29-5 with 19 knockouts and is crowned as the new super featherweight NABO champion for the World Boxing Organization.
The key for the victory for Oquendo was his ability to deny Lopez his advantage of stature and reach, taunting him and taking him against the ropes to impose his punishment to the body.
In the very first round Oquendo received a strong right hand from Lopez over the left ear that made him touch the canvas and receive a count from referee Janny Guzmán. But the fight was just starting for Oquendo.
In the second round, Oquendo cut the lip of 'Wonder Boy' Lopez and continued to take him against the ropes to prevent his opponent from imposing his jab at a distance. Lopez's body language reflected frustration and hesitation in his attacks, resorting to the jab only when his corner asked him to do so. He did not seem focused on his strategy and part of it was due to the work of Oquendo, who with his tricks continued to dominate him.
For the fifth round, Oquendo came to corner Lopez to hit the body and face and hurt him.
It seemed a matter of time and for the sixth round, Oquendo got close, put his hands to the body of Lopez and buckled his legs - which opened opportunities to connect on him to the face, making the referee to stop the fight at 2:40 minutes.
"My plan was to box the first and second rounds but I was surprised in the first round when he knocked me down and I had to change my style earlier than planned and put pressure on him against the ropes. When I was in the canvas I remembered my fight with Jhonny Gonzalez, where he knocked me down early and I brought up that warrior inside me, "said Oquendo, who improves to 29-5 with 19 KO's, while Lopez drops to 20-3-1 with 14 KO's.
"I think 'Wonderboy' was waiting for me to throw my punches to counter me back, but I could change my strategy. I connected my jab, gave good angles and went in and placed my hands on the body. By the fourth round I knew I had him. I knew from his breathing that he was tired and that's why I kept attacking him to the body. He looked frustrated and did not know how to adjust. It was about time".
Now Oquendo points to his long-awaited appointment, where he expects the WBO to place him in line to challenge the Japanese Masayuki Ito in the beginning of 2019.
"I'm heating up engines. I fought with Colombian (Daulis Prescott) that I managed to knock out in two rounds in August, now a KO in six rounds with Lopez. I'm ready. If Ito likes toe to toe we will have a great fight," added Oquendo.