By Mark Vester
Las Vegas - At the MGM Grand, Juan Manuel Lopez (30-0, 27KOs) retained his WBO featherweight title with a stoppage of two-division champion Rafael Marquez (39-6, 35KOs) after eight rounds of exciting action. Marquez seemed to suffer a shoulder injury and could not continue after eight rounds, but Lopez was really coming on in the last few rounds.
Lopez was hyped as the quicker guy, but it was Marquez who displayed the faster hands in the first. He was coming in and out with fast shots. Lopez was using his jab to set things up. He ended the round with flurry to trap Marquez in the corner. Lopez began to let his hands go in the second. He appeared to be too strong for Marquez, at least early on. Marquez closed the second with a left hand. Marquez was really connecting well with counter left hands in the third, testing the jaw of Juanma.
Lopez started the fourth round by daring Marquez to go to war. They were trading punches and Marquez rocked Lopez with a counter hook. Marquez began to work Lopez over with punches. A frustrated Lopez hit Marquez as referee Tony Weeks broke them apart from a clinch. Weeks took away a point for the roughouse tactics by Lopez.
The counter hook of Marquez continued to work in the fifth. Lopez was able to get in a few good punches by getting around the jab of Marquez with overhand shots. Lopez came out very strong in the sixth by switching up his punches and using the straight left hand to score. The seventh round was all-Lopez, with Marquez taking a decent beating against the ropes in the final minute. The eight was an inside war with Lopez pushing forward. They traded a lot of punches in the final minute. Lopez was landing the harder blows.
Marquez was unable to come out for round nine and the fight was stopped. The Marquez corner said their fighter suffered a shoulder injury.