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Lopez loses to Montes in Mexico

Silvester Lopez

MANILA, Philippines - ZambZamboanga Sibugay’s Silvester Lopez came back strong from a fluke knockdown to surprise Mexico’s Juan Jose Montes only to lose by a unanimous sixth round technical decision in a WBC superflyweight title eliminator at the Coliseo Olimpico in Guadalajara last Saturday night.oanga Sibugay’s Silvester Lopez came back strong from a fluke knockdown to surprise Mexico’s Juan Jose Montes only to lose by a unanimous sixth round technical decision in a WBC superflyweight title eliminator at the Coliseo Olimpico in Guadalajara last Saturday night.

Lopez, 22, was given a mandatory eight-count by referee Frank Gentile in the first round but the fall looked more like a slip. The knockdown appeared to infuriate Lopez who left Montes with a nasty cut on his right eyebrow in the second round. Gentile, however, ruled that the wound was inflicted by an accidental headbutt.

Lopez took at least two rounds in the judges scorecards and was behind on points when Gentile stepped in to rule Montes unfit to continue because of his cut. Montes did not come out for the sixth round. The three judges had identical scorecards, 48-45, at the end of five rounds.

Reports from Guadalajara were sketchy but from indications, Montes took three of the five rounds and Lopez was slapped a point deduction for the headbutt that opened a cut. Lopez was on the short end of a 10-8 round in the first stanza because of the knockdown.

The defeat snapped Lopez’ 10-fight winning streak and crushed his hopes of challenging newly-crowned WBC 115-pound champion Tomas Rojas of Mexico. His record dipped to 14-3-1, with 10 KOs. Montes, 21, raised his mark to 19-1, with 12 KOs. The fight determined Rojas’ first challenger since the Mexican, who lost to Gerry Peñalosa on points at the Araneta Coliseum four years ago, claimed the vacant crown by outpointing Kohei Kono in Saitama last Sept. 20.

A 2-1 favorite, Montes wasn’t expected to encounter stiff opposition from Lopez who fought in his first overseas bout. While Lopez was tipped by Mexican boxing experts as a dangerous knockout puncher, his lack of experience was seen to be a drawback.

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At the weigh-in last Friday, Lopez tipped the scales at 114 pounds while Montes checked in at 115.

Lopez, trainer Archier Villamor and manager Gabriel (Bebot) Elorde Jr. left Manila for Guadalajara via Los Angeles on a Philippine Airlines flight last Sept. 25. They were booked to leave for Guadalajara the next day but the flight was cancelled thrice, forcing another overnight stay in Los Angeles before finally taking off last Monday. A delay in obtaining US visas for Lopez and Villamor eliminated a plan to train at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for at least a week.

Elorde’s wife Arlene said she watched the fight on the Internet at her Sucat home but the live streaming video was often interrupted. She said she was surprised when Lopez took a count from what seemed like a slip in the first round. She noticed that Lopez turned aggressive in the second canto and it looked like Montes was cut from a legitimate punch.

 Aside from the loss, Elorde was dismayed by Mexican promoter Hector Garcia’s failure to pay Lopez his entire purse of $18,000. A balance of $8,000 is unsettled. Elorde said WBC executive secretary Mauricio Sulaiman, who watched the fight at ringside, gave his personal guarantee that the unpaid portion would be remitted to Manila.

Lopez, Villamor and Elorde return home via Los Angeles this Friday morning.

Mexican boxing writers warned Montes to be careful against Lopez because he was once knocked out by Jesus Ceja in 2007. “Montes is all momentum and flashes of power,” said boxeomundial.com. “He must have more discipline and focus in a well-defined gameplan. You must remember that on one occasion, (he was knocked out) for what I call overconfidence. (Against Lopez), hopefully, we see a mature and powerful fighter who will truly be a challenge for Rojas.”

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