By Jake Donovan
A trip home helped Sammy 'The Who Can Mexican' Vasquez also return to the knockout column. A knockout he was, as the unbeaten welterweight stopped the rugged Jose "Pistón" Lopez in the 5th round of their main event Tuesday evening at California University of Pennsylvania in California, PA.
Vasquez was in control from the opening bell, finally wearing down Lopez. Two knockdowns followed, the latter prompting referee Gary Rosato to stop the fight without a count at 1:08 of round five.
Tuesday's show took place roughly 15 minutes of Vasquez' hometown of Monesson, PA. The miltary veteran has developed as a draw in the region but was asked to take his act West in his last fight, in which he beat Wale Omotoso in a terrific 10-round war this past Father's Day on CBS live from Las Vegas.
Less than three months later, it was no place like home for the 29-year old, who had been extended the distance in each of his last two fights. Lopez had similar intentions in mind, as the durable slugger from Mexico figured to give Vasquez a test.
It never happened, despite Lopez' best efforts. Vasquez was surgical with his punches, and knew exactly where to be whenever his opponent attempted to fire back, without ever traveling very far out of the pocket.
The fight eventually evolved from a potential brawl to a brutal showcase in favor of the local favorite. Lopez took a beating towards the end of round four, but managed to stay on his feet.
Vasquez took care of that problem just one round later. A flurry of punches upstairs forced the visiting challenger to the canvas early in round five. He barely beat the count, with it being close enough to lead Vasquez to believe he scored a knockout.
That moment would come once action resumed. A shot to the temple saw Lopez collapse in a heap, at which point the bout was immediately brought to a halt.
Vasquez improves—in every sense of the word—to 20-0 (14KOs) with the knockout, his first since last November.
Lopez falls to 25-4-1 (15KOs), suffering his first career stoppage loss. The manner in which he was manhandled offered the suggestion that his conqueror is perhaps done at the prospect level and ready to graduate to title contention.
If his team is ready to throw him into the deep end of the pool... no life preserver necessary.
"I'll breast stroke," Vasquez quipped to Fox Sports 1's Claudia Trejos on the thought of sharing deep waters with the best welterweights in the world. ". "I'm ready for anyone my team puts in front of me."I'll swim, absolutely. I know if I get thrown in that pool it's going to be a hell of a fight."
When asked if top welterweights such as Keith Thurman and former 140 lb. king Danny Garcia are on his hit list, the rising contender qualified his remark as to avoid coming across as simply offering the most politcally correct response.
"Obviously you have to get to a certain category to get to those fights. Once I'm to the point where those fights make sense politically, I'm ready."
Opening the telecast, Omar Douglas maintained his unbeaten mark after a 10-round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Braulio Santos.
Scores were 96-90, 97-89 abd 99-87 in favor of Douglas, who scored knockdowns in each of the first two rounds, both coming courtesy of left hooks.
Both fighters were deducted a point for fouling—Douglas was docked in round five for rabbit punching, while Santos was penalized in round seven for a punch that traveled well south of the border.
Douglas—a super featherweight prospect from Wilmington, Delaware—advances to 15-0 (11KOs) after being extended beyond the 8th round for the first time in his career. Santos falls to 12-3 (10KOs), with all three losses coming in his past four starts.
Milton Santiago cruised to a six-round decision over Alvaro Ortiz (7-4-1, 5KOs) in their super lightweight swing bout. All three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Santiago (12-0, 3KOs).
Local favorite Monte Meza-Clay (37-5, 22KOs) snapped a two-fight skid, scoring a six-round decision over Jesus Angulo.
The squat lightweight fought at a career-heaviest 142.75 for the sake of appearing on the undercard. He took advantage of the moment to score his first win since last summer when he outlasted Alan Herrera in one of the best fights of 2014. Two losses followed, including a 10-round decision with local rival Rod Salka in a sensational war last November.
Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Stephan Shaw (5-0, 4KOs) needed just 0:39 to get rid of overmatched Randy Easton. The St. Louis-based heavyweight was extended the distance in his last fight, but made sure to come out throwing right from the opening bell until forcing the stoppage.
An in-state matchup of unbeaten super welterweights saw Amonte Eberhart (3-0, 1KO) edge Reading-based southpaw Erik Spring (6-1, 1KO) over four rounds.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com