Josesito Lopez jumped out of obscurity earlier this year by pounding out a surprise win over Victor Ortiz but the 28 year old Californian may just have been slammed back into the land of the lost by WBC light middleweight champion Saul Alvarez tonight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Lopez, until a year ago a light welterweight, stepped up to welter in June to break the jaw and will of former WBC 147 pound belt holder Oritz but the quick jump to 154, in the form of Mexico's Alvarez, proved to be too much, too soon.
The shorter, stocky champion dispensed with any formalities halfway through the first round, banging through with good punches as Lopez tried to read the style of the champion.
The challenger went on the attack in the second but when Alvarez tired of being defensive, his short inside punches rocked Lopez before a spearing shot to the midsection put the American on the canvas at the end of the round.
Lopez was floored again by another body shot soon after the third stanza commenced and once back on his feet, was unable to keep pace with the brisk inside game of Alvarez.
The fourth saw Alvarez open up his arsenal and hit the challenger nearly at will while Lopez showed courage to keep trying in the face of greater talent but was again down on the floor at the end of the round.
Lopez started the fifth with a bold assault that was designed to break the champion's grip but after blunting the challenger's thrust, Alvarez once again displayed a lethal efficiency of offense that prompted referee Joe Cortez to stop the one-way traffic at 2:55 of the round.
Alvarez successfully retains his crown for the fifth time, improving to 41-0-1 (30), while Lopez now stands at 30-5 (18).
Leading a superb undercard, featherweight Daniel Ponce De Leon, 44-4 (36), produced an upset of reigning WBC titlist Jhonny Gonzalez, 52-8 (45), via an eighth round technical decision.
Former WBO bantam boss Gonzalez used his height advantage to box from the outside in the early going against ex-WBO super bantam supremo lefty Ponce De Leon until an accidental head clash left both men bleeding badly in the third.
The fourth saw the fighters engage in serious combat, each looking to employ their vaunted punching power to take out the opponent. The next two rounds see the momentum go back and forth until Ponce De Leon strikes paydirt with a left hand that floors Gonzalez at the end of the sixth.
Gonzalez refuses to wilt and gains control of the contest in the seventh but Ponce De Leon landed well in the eighth before another head clash produced a bad enough laceration to Gonzalez for the bout to be stopped at 2:36 of the eighth.
When the cards were read, Ponce De Leon was announced as the winner by the rather wide margins of 79-72, 79-72 and 77-74.
The IBF bantamweight strap was fought over by 24 year old titlist Leo Santa Cruz, 21-0-1 (12), making his first defense, against seasoned 36 year old ex-WBA flyweight champ Eric Morel, 46-4 (23).
Morel would have an uphill battle in winning a 12 round decision over the much younger, fresher Santa Cruz so the veteran stood his ground and went punch for punch against the champion.
The challenger managed to keep pace with Santa Cruz initially, but by the third, the champion's commitment to body punching began to wear down the older man.
After more of the same through the fifth, Morel's corner kept their man on the stool before the start of the sixth, resulting in the first stoppage loss of Morel's career.
Welterweights Marcos Rene Maidana, 32-3 (29), and Jesus Soto Karass, 26-8-3 (17), engaged in a foul-filled war that failed to go the distance for the vacant WBC Intercontinental belt.
The first three rounds saw a measured boxing contest until Maidana hit Soto Karass after the bell. From that point on it was a bad blood grudge match with both men losing a point in the fourth for hitting during a break.
Maidana tired over the next round, allowing Soto Karass to get the upper hand until Maidana again stuck his opponent after the bell to end the fifth.
Soto Karass continued his dominance in the sixth and seventh, with Maidana losing a point for a low blow during a break, before the Argentine slugger downed Soto Karass with a right hand at the end of the seventh.
Maidana went all out at the start of the eight, prompting referee Kenny Bayless to wave off the action at 0:43 of the round.