By Keith Idec
James Wilkins was a star of Showtime’s documentary on the New York Golden Gloves, “Cradle of Champions,” which premiered Friday night.
It was Misael Lopez, Wilkins’ opponent, who became the star of their show later Friday night. Lopez out-worked Wilkins, mostly took Wilkins’ hardest shots well and defeated the previously unbeaten super featherweight prospect. Denver’s Lopez (9-0, 4 KOs) won an eight-round unanimous decision over Staten Island’s Wilkins (5-1, 5 KOs) in the first of four “ShoBox” bouts Showtime televised from Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
All three judges – Sarah Atwood (79-72), David Sutherland (77-74) and Tim Tallchief (76-75) – scored their fight for Lopez.
Wilkins, clearly behind in the fight, seemed to score a knockdown after hitting Lopez with an overhand right late in the seventh round. Lopez didn’t go all the way down, but his right glove touched the canvas and referee Mike England sent Wilkins to a neutral corner.
By then, though, the round had ended and England determined that it wasn’t a knockdown.
Wilkins went after Lopez throughout the eighth round. He landed several flush right hands and left hooks, but he couldn’t hurt Lopez again.
England warned Wilkins for landing a low left hand very early in the sixth round. England deducted a point from Wilkins for repeated low blows in the previous round.
A fresher Lopez rocked Wilkins with a left hook shortly thereafter. Wilkins held and got his legs back under him, but Lopez appeared in control of their fight at that point.
England took a point away from Wilkins for landing another low left hand at the 1:49 mark of the fifth round. England had warned Wilkins more than once prior to taking a point away from him.
For a second straight round, Lopez was the busier, more accurate fighter in the fifth.
By the fourth round, Lopez became the aggressor, after fighting largely off his back foot for the first three rounds. He out-landed Wilkins during those three minutes, when Wilkins appeared tired and threw fewer punches than he had in the first three rounds.
Lopez and Wilkins started slugging with each other as soon as the third round start. Each fighter had some success and both were warned by Wilkins for low blows in that round.
Lopez finished the third round strong
Wilkins landed a left hand below Lopez’s belt that sent Lopez to one knee with 1:49 to go in the second round. England gave Lopez time to recover following Wilkins’ foul and warned Wilkins.
They traded power shots for the remainder of the round once the action resumed. Wilkins knocked Lopez backward when he landed a left hook about 15 seconds into the second round.
Wilkins pressured Lopez throughout the first round, but Lopez landed enough punches to make the first three minutes competitive.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.