Teofimo Lopez survives, defends junior welterweight title with unanimous decision win over Jamaine Ortiz

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Teofimo Lopez successfully defended his belt Thursday night in a rather disappointing bout in Las Vegas.

Teofimo Lopez controversially defended his belt Thursday night in a rather disappointing bout in Las Vegas. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Teofimo Lopez barely managed to defend his title on Thursday night.

Lopez survived a slow, defensive bout to defeat Jamaine Ortiz via a controversial unanimous decision in a close fight at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

Ortiz harassed Lopez throughout the entire match, kicking him around the ring and causing him to miss most of his moments as he slowly wore down the champ. . There were only two rounds where there were double-digit ties throughout the entire 12-round bout in a very offensive performance from both fighters. Neither fighter landed more than 21% of their punches, and Ortiz made Lopez miss consistently throughout the entire match.

But in the end, the judges gave Lopez a narrow victory, allowing him to retain his WBO junior welterweight title.

“We can’t for one second claim these people, these fighters who don’t want to come and fight,” Lopez said as boos reigned down in the arena. “You’re going to blood, sweat and tears … if you’re not ready for this life, get the f**k out of my sport. I’m a hero. I bled for this. I mourn for this. I will I cry for this, every time.”

Lopez landed some solid shots in the second round after a slow opening sequence, though Ortiz landed on top in the third after backing Lopez into the corner. Lopez was also feeding Ortiz in the corner in the fourth round, and Ortiz took full advantage landing several body shots before landing another right hook before the bell – which left Lopez smiling. Lopez was unable to cut off the ring and never effectively altered Ortiz’s display of movement and ring generality.

Ortiz seemed to jump ahead through the halfway point as well, which left Lopez frustrated after failing to land multiple shots. In the seventh round, Lopez accidentally hit Ortiz above his left eye, sending blood pouring down Ortiz’s cheek. That got Lopez back into his rhythm, and he closed out the strong circle to steal back the momentum. He was 10 of 18 with his power shots in the round, which was his best of the night.

Ortiz jumped right back in during the ninth, however, and Lopez actually slipped and hit the mat in that round. But again, not much went down between the two. Lopez came out in the 11th and landed a hard right to start the round almost immediately. The two traded hard moves in the final seconds in the middle of the ring as well, but it didn’t seem to make a difference either way.

Lopez won 115-113 on two cards and scored an absurd 117-111 on the third to capture the unanimous decision victory. The 26-year-old now has an overall record of 20-1 with 13 KOs in his career. He last defeated Josh Taylor by unanimous decision last summer, his third straight victory after losing to George Kambosos in 2021. Ortiz fell to 17-2-1 overall with 8 KOs, although he has now lost two of his last three bouts.

Lopez was upset that Ortiz “didn’t want to fight,” but maybe Ortiz should be upset because Lopez lacks basic boxing skills.

“I accepted the game plan,” Ortiz said on ESPN. “I was doing well, I thought I was winning, that’s what I believe, I believe I won the fight. What can I say, I came up on the short end of the stick once again.”

Nevertheless, Lopez will keep his belt and look to the future.

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