It was the kind of fight Juan LaPorte liked: an opponent who preferred to press the issue rather than dance around the ring. That was just what he got in Thursday night's defense of his National American Boxing Federation super-featherweight championship against Rogelio Lopez at the Hyatt Regency in Tampa.
Lopez pressed LaPorte for 12 rounds but in the end, LaPorte retained his title with a split decision.
It was the third title defense for LaPorte (36-9, 19 knockouts) since he won the title in 1988. All three fights have gone the full 12 rounds.
LaPorte appeared to have Lopez in trouble in the fourth and fifth rounds, but Lopez continued to wade in. Then in the ninth round, LaPorte staggered Lopez with a left-right combination.
The blows sent Lopez falling across the ring and up against the ropes. He grabbed and held on to LaPorte and slipped away as the bell sounded to end the round.
Lopez (14-10-3, nine knockouts) came out strong in the remaining rounds but LaPorte continued to slip punches and counter effectively to retain his title.
In the preliminary bout, 1988 Olympic Bronze medalist Kenneth Gould won a 10-round decision over Jorge Maysonet.
Manager: Douglas won't fight until September
NEW YORK - John Johnson, James "Buster" Douglas's manager, said the new world heavyweight boxing champion will not defend his title until September.
"No way," Johnson said during the taping of tonight's 9:30 p.m. replay on HBO of Douglas's 10th-round knockout of previously undefeated champion Mike Tyson in Tokyo last Saturday.
"He's going to enjoy being the champion and making himself a lot of money," Johnson said.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.