Arguing over the timing of the stoppage was logical, but there was no denying Andre Berto's resurrection story Friday night.
Berto, a former welterweight world champion who said he believed his career was in peril after 2013 shoulder surgery, rediscovered his precise power and scored a sixth-round technical knockout victory over Josesito Lopez at Ontario's Citizens Business Bank Arena.
"Going through the tough situations, I had to get through some obstacles … my performance tonight shows I'm here," Berto said.
Referee Raul Caiz Jr. watched Berto (30-3, 23 knockouts) strike Lopez (33-7) with three consecutive right hands to drop him early in the sixth.
Action resumed with Berto, 31, closing in and smacking Lopez on the side of the head with another right that sent Lopez down. At the 1:03 mark of the sixth, Caiz waved off the fight.
"On the first knockdown, he went down hard and didn't recover well," Caiz told The Times. "The second time, he was unfit to continue and that's why I stopped it."
That decision didn't go over well with Lopez and his trainer Henry Ramirez, who objected along with fans who supported the Inland Empire product.
"It looked like he was pretty much out," Berto said. "I knew if he got up, I was going to drop some heavy stuff on him."
Answered Lopez: "He stopped it too early. I absolutely wasn't hurt, wasn't buzzed."
Victory was sweet for Berto considering it came in the same arena where he suffered two swollen eyes and was beaten by decision by Robert Guerrero in 2012. Guerrero leveraged the triumph into a lucrative 2013 loss to
Lopez's speed and willingness to press the action worked early, but Berto landed blows in the fourth and Lopez's right eye swelled, prompting Berto to throw a combination and corner Lopez.
Berto collected $800,000 and Lopez was paid $450,000, according to the California State Athletic Commission.
In the co-main event, former welterweight world champion Shawn Porter knocked out replacement fighter Erick Bone at 2:30 of the fifth round.
Porter (25-1-1, 16 KOs) attacked Bone's body in the fifth, knocking him down in Porter's corner, then swarming for the finish.
"I wanted to mix it up and set him up with the jab," Porter said. "Once I went to the body, it was over."
A hard right to the chin badly hurt Bone, and Porter's next punch was a left to the right ear that sent Bone to the canvas.
Porter was scheduled as of Thursday afternoon to fight Texan Roberto Garcia, but Garcia showed up in Ontario looking "like a middleweight," according to a fight official, igniting a mad scramble to find another opponent.
In a heavyweight bout, Chris Arreola of Riverside scored a first-round knockdown of Florida's Curtis Harper before the out-of-shape pair — weighing a combined 527.5 pounds — engaged in an entertaining slugfest that went the distance.
Arreola (36-4) won by scores of 76-75, 78-73 and 77-74, but rated his performance a D.