Results & Recaps from Miami where Teofimo Lopez Out-Classed Steve Claggett


By Arne K. Lang

Top Rank was in downtown Miami tonight with a deep card headlined by Teofimo Lopez’s WBO 140-pound title defense against Calgary’s Steve Claggett. Although born in Brooklyn, Teofimo spent the bulk of his youth in southern Florida and yet this would be his first ring appearance in the Miami metropolitan area.

Claggett, a heavy underdog, has only one gear which to press forward and he has the advantage of a granite chin, but he doesn’t pack a hard punch. At the end of 12 rounds, the only question was whether Lopez had pitched a shutout. The answer was not quite. Summing the three scorecards, Teofimo was awarded one shy of all 36 rounds.

Lopez moved to 21-1 with his fifth straight victory in what may have been his final assignment at 140. There is talk of him moving up to welterweight. Claggett, an honest workman who was worthy of a title shot in his 15th year as a pro, declined to 38-8-2.


Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez, in his first fight back since losing his WBO featherweight title to Rafael Espinoza in the 2023 Upset of the Year, won every round prior to taking Brandon Benitez out in the seventh round with a wicked left uppercut that snapped Benitez’s head back and seemingly lifted both of his feet off the ground.

Robeisy (14-2, 9 KOs) is expected to have a rematch with Espinoza next. Pardon the cliché, but that match will be highly anticipated. Benitez, who turned pro in Mexico at age 16, had a 7-winning streak halted while falling to 21-3. The official time was 2:46 of round seven.


The opener on the main ESPN platform was a bruising 6-round middleweight tiff between Nico Ali Walsh and 36-year-old Minnesota native Sona Akale. Walsh, the grandson of the “GOAT,” brought a 10-1-1 record and was seeking to avenge his lone defeat. Akale won a majority decision when they met in August of last year in Tulsa.

Ali Walsh, who scored a knockdown in round three with a sweeping left hook, won a unanimous decision (58-55, 57-56, 57-56). In the final round he dislocated his left shoulder and was reduced to a one-armed fighter, but managed to stay out of harm’s way. The crowd booed the decision.

ESPN+ Undercard

Emiliano Vargas, the suave, 20-year-old son of former two division world champion “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas, needed only 92 seconds to dismiss 36-year-old Missouri campaigner Jose Zaragoza. A junior welterweight, Vargas improved to 11-0 with his ninth win inside the distance. Zaragoza: 9-9-2.

In a fight slated for 140 pounds, Elvis “Dominican Kid” Rodriguez improved to 16-1-1 (13) with a unanimous 10-round decision over Jino Rodrigo (12-4-2). Both fighters were on the canvas in the opening round. Rodrigo put Rodriguez down with a right hook to the forehead. Rodriguez was seriously rocked and for a moment it seemed as if a big upset was brewing. But Rodriguez, fighting off his back foot with his back to the ropes, returned the favor with a short left hook.

Rodriguez scored another knockdown in the waning seconds of round three with a three-punch combo, but Rodrigo, whose gloves touched the canvas, wasn’t hurt. From that point on, the fight became rather monotonous although Rodrigo, a Filipino making his U.S. debut, was always dangerous.

Lorenzo Medina, a 19-year-old heavyweight from the Miami area, won a 6-round unanimous decision over Dontrailous Webster, advancing his record to 11-0 (9). The scores were 60-53, 60-54, and 59-55.

It wasn’t an impressive showing by Medina who is slow of foot and was soft around the midsection. Webster, a 36-year-old Mississippian, brought a 7-3 record but without a single win against an opponent with a winning record.

Welterweight Rohan Polanco improved to 13-0 (8 KOs) with a second-round stoppage of Mexico’s Luis Hernandez (23-5). A Tokyo Olympian representing the Dominican Republic, Polanco took charge in the second round, strafing Hernandez with an assortment of punches climaxed by a harsh uppercut that compelled world class referee Luis Pabon to step in and stop it. The official time was 2:28 of round two.

In a 10-round featherweight contest, Yan Santana (12-0, 11 KOs) went the distance for the first time in his career and scored a unanimous decision over Colombia’s Brandon Valdes (15-5). It was the U.S. debut for Santana, a fighter from the Dominican Republic who is managed by the influential David McWater.

This fight looked like it would be over in a hurry when Santana knocked Valdes off his pins with a sweeping left hook in the opening frame. But the Colombian had his moments as the bout progressed including a strong seventh round. The judges had it 96-93 and 98-91 twice.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
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Lopez-Claggett reminded me of Canelo-Hatton. Claggett never stopped trying, kept punching but was never really a threat to Lopez. Good effort and I applaud Claggett but hope next time we see Lopez hope he’s in a much more significant fight.