On what was a relatively quiet weekend for world championship boxing, it was however an excellent and exciting weekend for highly touted prospects. Especially prospects looking to re-establish themselves among the best young fighters in the world. One blue-chipper shined brightest. 22-year-old Brownsville, Texas, native “El Relampago” Omar Juarez scored a sensational 8-round unanimous decision over rugged Mexican veteran Jairo Lopez on Sunday evening on FS1. Putting together a masterclass performance over the duration of the eight-round affair. Juarez scored a knockdown in the fifth and dominated every moment of the fight. Successfully bouncing back from his surprising loss last June moving his record to 12-1 (5) and capturing our Fighter of the Week award.
If there were any questions about just how good a prospect Juarez is coming off his first career loss .El Relampago answered that question emphatically. The Texan came out like gangbusters and rocked his opponent, Jairo Lope, just over a minute into the fight with an overhand right and followed up with another straight right hand for good measure and then a third. What happened in the first minute and change of the fight would be indicative of what happened the rest of the night. The Texan would not look back remaining in control throughout. Staying cool and composed Juarez stayed on the outside in the early stages piling up the points. Well ahead on the cards by the fourth Juarez decided to sit and establish his power more. Midway through the fourth Juarez landed split the guard with a perfect uppercut snapping Lopez’s head back and then fired off a barrage of hooks and right hands that kept Lopez in a world of trouble. The beatdown continued in the fifth as Juarez now fighting off the front foot landed a massive straight right hand that dropped Lopez. It looked like it may end that fight, however a brave Lopez, of Nuevo Leon, Mexico somehow beat the count and continued. The writing was already on the wall however and Juares on the behest of his trainer Rick Nunez, remained on the aggressive, not gun shy or cautious at all coming off his first career knockdown and loss. Juarez fought the remainder of the fight on the inside unleashing thudding combinations that scored to the head and body. Stunning Lopez from long range and then beating him up on the inside and backing the aggressive Lopez up, Juarez cruised to an impressive unanimous decision victory by scores of 80-71, and 79-72×2.
Juarez is a really complete fighter for being just 22-years-old. He is a terrific body puncher, with exceptional hand speed. He is defensively responsible, has excellent footwork, and can fight at all distances. He is fundamentally sound and as he grows into his man strength he is going to be an incredibly difficult out for anyone at the 140-pound division. A division that has all of its major world titles held by one man, Josh Taylor, who will likely vacate all those belts and move up to welterweight and chase bigger paydays in the not-so-distant future. That would leave all four belts vacant. If Juarez puts together another sensational year in 2022 and secures three or four more wins he can propel him into a position to realistically fight for one of the vacated jr welterweight belts in 2023.