The fight started well for the Lopez who used his movement and straight punching to neutralise the pressure and nasty hooks of Taconing, who looked half a second behind the champion in the opening stanza. Taconing did however find his range and managed to have notable success in round 2, one of his best rounds of the fight, as Lopez was forced to take some heavy leather and was back up.
Lopez bounced back from the bad second round and won the third and fourth round by again using his feet and landing the better shots, including a beautiful straight left hand in round 4. Despite landing some humdingers Lopez was never able to make Taconing take a step backwards, but was making him look like a straight brawler looking for the Haymakers whilst Lopez himself was boxing wonderfully and trading just when he needed to. It seemed clear after 4 rounds that if it went to the cards then Lopez was going to win, but Taconing wasn't travelling with the intent of seeing the final bell and continued to press the action.
In round 5 Taconing began a real surge easily winning the round with some very heavy shots that seemed to seriously shake up the champion who had a nightmare round and appeared on the verge of unravelling. Taconing smelled his chance and continued to force the action in round 6 as has clawed back some of the lost ground from the opening section of the fight and it seemed like the challenger was suddenly coming on strong whilst the champion was failing. The challengers momentum continued into round 7, another clear round for the challenger who again seemed to shake up the champion who was looking particularly ragged, despite landing some solid counters that just seemed to bounce off the iron chinned Filipino.
In the 8th round the Filipino continued to try and build on his success, but unfortunately a clash of heads saw him being deducted a point whilst Lopez suffered a cut. The cut seemed to kick Lopez into warrior mode and he seemed willing to go toe-to-toe with Taconing at times as he looked for some way of turning the fight back in his favour.
Sadly at the end of round 8 we had the opening scoring which made a farce of the 8 rounds we had had, with one judge giving Taconing just a single round and another giving him just 2 rounds in what had been a very competitive fight.
Knowing he had no chance on the scorecards Taconing tried to up the pressure in the later rounds, possibly doing enough to claim round 9, but not enough in the final 3 rounds as he seemed to tire and Lopez managed to have his second wind, especially in the final 2 rounds as Lopez managed to again control the bout.
Watching it the bout seemed close, but like Lopez had just done enough. Sadly the cards failed to reflect that nature with scores of 118-109 and 119-108 alongside a much more reasonable 115-112, which seemed to be a fair score.
Sadly for Taconing this must feel like another case of travelling and knowing everyone was against him. We've no complaint about the results but given the scorecards he really was never going to get a decision and that's got to make him wonder why he bothered even turning up. For Lopez the win legitimises him as a world champion, and the performance it's self shows his toughness and ability, but we'll likely have a target on his back going forward.