By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Teofimo Lopez wasted no time in finishing off Vitor Freitas in the fourth fight on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares undercard Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The talented, powerful lightweight prospect needed just one minute and four seconds to knock out Freitas in a scheduled eight-round bout. Lopez’s right hand appeared to graze the side of Freitas’ head, but Freitas went down and couldn’t get up before referee Anthony Chiarantano counted to 10.
Unlike his previous fight, the 20-year-old Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs) left the ring completely unscathed Saturday night. In his last fight, the Brooklyn-bred, Las Vegas-based Lopez easily out-boxed Juan Pablo Sanchez in their six-rounder, but not before he suffered a long cut over his left eye.
An accidental clash of heads caused that cut in the second round February 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas. It delayed his return to the ring for nearly two months. Before sustaining that cut, Lopez was scheduled to fight on the Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam undercard March 17 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Brazil’s Freitas (14-2, 8 KOs) lost by first-round knockout for the second time in three fights.
In the third fight on the Lomachenko-Linares undercard, Mikaela Mayer remained undefeated by beating up Baby Nansen during much of their one-sided, six-round lightweight bout.
Los Angeles’ Mayer, a 2016 Olympian, pushed the action from the opening bell and forced Nansen to fight off her back foot for almost all 12 minutes. The game Nansen tried her best to move and fend off Mayer, but her taller, stronger opponent was busier and more accurate throughout their fight.
The 27-year-old Mayer improved to 5-0. New Zealand’s Nansen (6-3-1), who hasn’t recorded a knockout as a professional, avoided losing by knockout for the first time in her 3½-year pro career, but accomplished little else.
Mayer landed an overhand right just before the end of the fourth round that forced Nansen to hold until the bell sounded.
Mayer picked up where she left off early in the fifth round, when she bloodied Nansen’s nose after landing a hard right hand. Mayer continued landing flush punches to Nansen’s head throughout the fifth round.
Mayer clocked Nansen with two left hooks in the first minute of the sixth round. She wobbled Nansen with an overhand right later in the sixth, but couldn’t finish her off.
In the bout before Mayer’s victory, lightweight contender Jamel Herring eventually followed his new trainer’s instructions to “get him out of here” by stopping Juan Pablo Sanchez in the fifth round of a scheduled eight-rounder.
Herring (17-2, 10 KOs), a 2012 Olympian from Coram, New York, won by fifth-round technical knockout when referee Anthony Chiarantano stopped the action because he had drilled Sanchez with a flurry of unanswered punches. The fight was stopped at 1:28 of the fifth round, with Sanchez still standing.
Mexico’s Sanchez (30-16, 14 KOs) lost by knockout or technical knockout for the ninth time in his 12-year pro career.
An accidental clash of heads around the midway point of the second round caused a cut around Herring’s right eye. Their heads came together again early in the third round, which caused Herring to paw at his cut and made Chiarantano warn Sanchez for leading with his head.
The blood flowing from his cut seemed to make Herring fight with a sense of urgency.
Later in the third, Chiarantano called for a break in the action, so that a ringside physician could examine Herring’s cut. The action resumed with 30 seconds to go in the third round.
Herring spent much of the fourth round landing clean to Sanchez’s body and head. An aggressive Herring really opened up on Sanchez early in the fifth round, when he unleashed a barrage of unanswered head and body blows that prompted Chiarantano to step in and stop the fight.
Herring, who signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. earlier this year, made his debut with trainer Brian McIntyre in his corner. McIntyre also trains former undisputed 140-pound champion Terence Crawford.
Herring fought for the first time since losing a 10-round unanimous decision to Ladarius Miller (16-1, 5 KOs) on August 22 in Las Vegas.
In the opener of Saturday’s seven-bout card, super lightweight prospect Fazliddin Gaibnazarov mostly took target practice on Jesus Silveira on Saturday.
Uzbekistan’s Gaibnazarov landed numerous left hands, until Silveira couldn’t take it anymore in the fourth round on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares undercard at Madison Square Garden. Gaibnazarov dropped Silveira twice in the fourth round – first with a left-right combination and again with a left hand.
Referee Ron Lipton stopped their fight at 2:05 of the fourth round, as soon as Silveira hit the canvas a second time.
Gaibnazarov, a 2016 Olympian, became the first fighter to stop Silveira in the Mexican veteran’s 16 professional fights. Gaibnazarov improved to 4-0 and recorded his second knockout since turning pro in April 2017.
Mexico’s Silveira (8-6-2, 3 KOs) lost a third straight fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.