Emanuel Navarrete wasn’t expected to have any trouble against a hopelessly overmatched opponent tonight in Mexico City, and things went according to plan, as Navarrete dropped Uriel Lopez twice and won via stoppage in the sixth round.
Navarrete (32-1, 28 KO) was at featherweight for this bout, but he’s still a titleholder at junior featherweight, as he hasn’t vacated the WBO belt yet. There have been a lot of conflicting reports and messages in recent months with Navarrete, as he was basically advertised as making a final title defense in February, but said after that fight he wanted to stay in the division if he could get a big fight.
He’s got featherweight size and length, so moving up shouldn’t be a huge problem, other than the opponents will often get a little bigger, too.
In this fight against Lopez (13-14-1, 6 KO), he was facing a familiar sort of opponent — way out of his depth, smaller than him, didn’t have the skills to do much of anything with Navarrete’s sometimes awkward rhythms, power, and work rate. Lopez was game here and took a lot of shots, but he was never in any danger of being competitive, let alone winning.
The 25-year-old Navarrete gets a constant stream of praise for his activity, but recent opponents have been mediocre at best, lousy at worst, and Lopez was by far the worst of the lot. Navarrete is a fun fighter to watch and easy to like, but it’s gotten to the point where it would really be nice to see him fight someone in the top, I dunno, 30 or so of his division, whichever division he plans on competing in going from here.
We got a minor upset with featherweight Edwin Palomares stopping Carlos Ornelas in the fifth round of the co-feature, when Ornelas’ corner stopped the fight after a body shot knockdown in a fight that Palomares had been controlling with pressure.
The 24-year-old Palomares (13-3-1, 4 KO) looked a good deal better than his record, and that makes some sense, as he’s young and two of his losses have been via split decision, including an eight-rounder in his last fight against prospect Irving Turrubiartes on Dec. 7 in Puebla.
Ornelas (25-3, 14 KO) is a 25-year-old who was looking like a prospect before a TKO loss to Willmank Brito in 2018, and he was stopped by Jhon Gemino in 2019, too. He’d won three straight, but Palomares just got the better of him here and was the better fighter.
Featherweight Sergio Sanchez (15-1, 9 KO) gave us a highlight reel GOOM of a KO in the night’s second televised fight, blasting Gustavo Alan Pina (8-3, 5 KO) with this wicked left hand just six seconds into the third round:
The card’s opener was a spirited six-rounder won by Ivan Armando Garcia (6-0, 3 KO), who took 59-55 scores across the board against Roberto Palomares (5-5-1, 1 KO). Truthfully, the fight seemed plenty closer than that; like his cousin who would win later, Palomares was better than his record.