Welterweight Josesito Lopez (31-6, 18 KOs) halted his losing streak at two by winning an eight round technical decision over Mike Arnaoutis (24-10-2, 11 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, California Friday night.
Lopez established his height and reach advantage in the first two rounds. He jabbed his way inside and looked for openings. Two left hooks landed on the chest of Arnaoutis. A right hand also found the mark. Arnaoutis, a southpaw, was short with most of his punches.
Arnaoutis, 34, got back in the fight in round three. Lopez was doing well until he ran into a jab and went down. Lopez got up quickly with a perplexed look on his face. Arnaoutis wasted no time peppering him with combinations. Lopez countered back with salvos to the head and body in round four.
Lopez kept marching forward in rounds five and six, but looked sluggish. Arnaoutis stung him with a short left hand. He utilized the size of the ring and kept Lopez on the end of his jab. Lopez tried to pick up the pace, but was running into punches. Arnaoutis pushed the former welterweight titleholder into the ropes.
Lopez, 29, landed five straight right hands in round seven. He varied his attack to the head and body in round eight. Arnaoutis came back with a strong left hand. Lopez strafed Arnaoutis with another combination. An accidental clash of heads caused a bad cut over the left eye of Arnaoutis.
Lopez clipped the cut with another right at the bell.
The ringside doctor inspected the cut after the round ended. He asked Arnaoutis if he could see. Arnaoutis said no. The referee waved off the contest at that point.
The scores were 76-75 and 77-74 (twice) for Lopez.
“I felt a little off,” Lopez admitted after the fight. “It wasn’t my A game tonight. I worked through it.”
“I had a cut over my eye,” said Arnaoutis. “I couldn’t see.”
Lopez had hoped to come back with bang, but the result was more of a whimper.