Francisco Lopez Stays Undefeated with Split Draw Against Ivan Benitez

Still undefeated lightweight prospect Francisco “Chino” Lopez (12-0-1, 8 KOs) survived a scare tonight (Tuesday, December 8, 2020) by salvaging a 10-round split draw against determined countryman Ivan Leon “Cachorro Canonerof” Benitez (14-4-1, 6 KOs).

Fighting in the main event of “Noche de Box,” presented by Don Chargin Productions and Paco Presents Boxing, in association with Fabrica de Campeones, Ahome, Sinaloa’s Lopez seemed to have trouble with the awkward roughhousing style of Veracruz’s Benitez and was never able to find a way to unload his superior firepower.

It was an ugly clash of styles with few combinations landed. A frustrated Lopez lost a point in round six for rabbit punching and another when a headbutt opened a gash on Benitez’s right eyelid in round eight. Both point losses were debatable and cost Lopez a close victory.

The tough Benitez took Lopez’s landed punches with surprising ease and found a home for enough of his own to make the outcome a nail biter for both fighters. In the end one judge apiece saw it 96-94 for each man and the deciding judge had it 94-94.

In the co-main event, former world-title challenger and WBC #5 bantamweight Alejandro “Peque” Santiago (23-2-2, 12 KOs) put on a demonstration of the difference between a world contender and a domestic one by stopping crosstown “rival” Erick “Lobito” Gonzalez (13-2-2, 7 KOs) in five nearly effortless rounds.

Landing a concerning number of power shots, almost at will, while avoiding almost all return fire from his determined, but out-gunned opponent, Santiago showed why he’s a danger to anyone in the world at 118 lbs. Gonzalez was down only once, late in round two.

The merciful end came officially at :10 of round five, as Gonzalez was wisely convinced to stay on his stool after the fourth.

Tijuana super featherweight Cristian “Lacandonsito” Cruz (14-5, 6 KOs) continued his rebirth as a prospect to watch by scoring a wide eight-round unanimous decision over Mexico’s rugged Francisco “El Rudo” Alarcon (10-6-2, 5 KOs).

Under the tutelage of his father/trainer, former IBO and IBF Featherweight Champion Cristóbal “Lacandón” Cruz, the 23-year-old Cruz has rounded into a “Camacho-esque” boxer/puncher with a remarkable ability to stand in the pocket and still be almost impossible to hit. The question of whether he will stay as impressive against a level up in opposition is yet to be answered, but the powerful Cruz continues to looks like he may have something. The scores were 79-73, 79-73 and 80-72.

In as good a six-round flyweight fight as you’d ever hope to see, Los Mochis, Sinaloa’s undefeated Bryan Luna (7-0, 3 KOs) survived a spirited assault from Ensenada’s Jose Giovanny Pinedo (3-1) to take a breathtaking six-round majority decision.

For a fighter still looking for his first career knockout, Pinedo came out surprisingly aggressively from the first bell. His wind-milling relentlessness found surprising success against the more well-schooled Luna. To his credit Luna kept his composure and threw well-placed counters between the more reckless Pinedo’s shots. The onslaught continued throughout, as Pinedo applied unyielding pressure and never stopped throwing from every angle and with either hand while Luna looked to pick him apart intelligently.

Sensing the fight was closer than comfortable, Luna had a good round five, as the punching machine Pinedo seemed to go into power-saver mode briefly. The flyweights threw non-stop punches in the sixth to cap a sensational war by both men. The scores were 57-57, over-ruled by scores of 58-57 and a questionable 59-55.

San Diego-based super flyweight Danny Andujo (6-3, 2 KOs) won a solid six-round unanimous decision (scores 59-55, 59-55 and 60-55) over Ensenada’s tough Felipe Ayon (1-2-1, 1 KO). The slightly shorter Andujo used the right uppercut to great effect and it probably made the difference in a battle of stylistic mirror images. Both super flyweights had their moments, though, in a good action punch-out. Ayon’s left eye started to swell from the clockwork tattooing of right hands and by the final bell, Andujo seemed to be the fresher of the two sluggers.

In a featherweight four-rounder to open the show, Tijuana’s Christian Eduardo “Starboy” Santiago (3-0, 1 KO) had a little too much everything against brave opponent Miguel Alejandro Perez (1-6-1, 1 KO), also of Tijuana. Santiago dropped Perez in round two and was just sharper and stronger throughout. The unanimous decision was scored 40-35 by all three judges.

“Noche de Box” was livestreamed on the WBC’s revolutionary new Live Digital Channel, via the Vive Network from Tijuana.

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