By Francisco Salazar
Featherweight prospect Ruben Villa stopped game Ricardo Lopez in round five late Saturday night at the Omega Products International in Sacramento, California.
The southpaw Villa (12-0, 5 knockouts) was the aggressor from the opening bell, putting Lopez on the defensive. Lopez hung in there early on, but Villa consistently connected with each passing round..
Villa, who has two amateur victories over Shakur Stevenson, dropped Lopez (7-3-2, 2 KOs) in round five with a left-right combination. Lopez beat the count, but was in no condition to continue, stopping the bout at 2:49.
Villa resides in the California Central Coast city of Salinas and was coming off a one-sided victory over Marlon Olea in his previous bout on Apr. 14.
In an upset, journeyman Rodney Hernandez won an eight round split decision over LaRon Mitchell.
The shorter Hernandez found success on the inside, connecting with several uppercuts to the head and hooks to the body. Hernandez hurt Mitchell (16-1, 14 KOs), a physical education teacher in the Oakland area, at the end of round seven and was the more effective fighter in round eight.
One judge scored the bout 77-75 for Mitchell, while the other two judges scored the bout 78-74 and 77-75 for Hernandez, who improves to 11-8-2, 2 KOs.
In a battle of unbeaten lightweights, Pedro Moreno (9-0, 5 KOs) of Sacramento won a workmanlike eight round unanimous decision over Luis Zarazua (8-1-1, 4 KOs).
Moreno mixed his attack to outbox Zarazua during the first half of the fight. Moreno rallied in rounds six and seven, but looked tired and discouraged in the final round. Scores were 79-73, 79-73, and 78-74 for Moreno.
In cruiserweight action, Blake McKernan won a six round unanimous decision over Miguel Cubos (11-18, 8 KOs). Scores were 59-55, 59-55, and 58-56 for McKernan, who goes to 9-0, 6 KOs.
Featherweight Alberto Torres (11-1-3, 4 KOs) won an unpopular six round unanimous decision over Aleem Jumakhonov (7-2-1, 4 KOs). All three judges scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Torres, where many at ringside thought Jumakhonov did enough to win.
Lightweight Max Becerra outboxed Cesar Villarraga (9-5-1, 4 KOs) over six round to win a unanimous decision. Scores were 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56 for Becerra, who improves to 15-2-2, 8 KOs.
In the opening bout of the Thompson Boxing card, light heavyweight Ryan Bourland (15-2, 5 KOs) won a four round unanimous decision over Codale Ford (5-8, 2 KOs). Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 for Bourland.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing