Juan Manuel Lopez vs Rogers Mtagwa
In the main event of a fight card held at Madison Square Garden, Juan Manuel Lopez of Caguas, Puerto Rico, made his fifth successful defense of the WBO Super Bantamweight Title with a 12 round majority decision over game challenger Rogers 'The Tiger' Mtagwa of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bout was exciting, and kept the crowd standing and cheering the nonstop action for all twelve action rounds. Lopez, 27-0, 24 kos, appeared to win the first six rounds on points but got 'taken to school' in a war, with both fighters trading power punches and bombs. Lopez appeared calm, and walked his distance away from Mtagwa, 26-13-2, 18 kos, frequently as Mtagwa did not cut off the ring. Mtagwa moved forward the entire bout and kept coming, landing more of what he threw while slipping punches and making Lopez miss alot. Rounds seven, eight, nine and ten belonged to Mtagwa, whose constant power punches continued to rattle Lopez. In round eleven Lopez came back, trading power punches and landing more often, but Mutagwa won the round on the scorecards. In round twelve, Lopez appeared out of punch, but his legs were good, and Mtagwa obliged by giving Lopez a severe beating in what appeared a lopsided 10-8 round. Lopez refused to fall, however, and by virtue of a flash knockdown of Mtagwa in round five which may have been an off balance slip, Lopez clearly won the bout. One judge had it 116-111, another 115-111, and the third judge 114-113. Without the 'knockdown' it would have been a split decision. In a televised postfight interview in the ring, Mtagwa, who raised his arms in victory, said he thought he had won the bout and truly felt he was robbed. From a neutral standpoint, Lopez, who had never gone beyond the tenth, showed great courage surviving round 12 with no offense or defense. "The 12th round was all heart. A lot of people think I am Superman. I'm not. I get hit like everyone else. But I'm resilient," said Lopez.