Armijo Leaves Party Without His State Title

TIMES STAFF WRITER

John Armijo, without his normal large and loud entourage of beach friends, lost a 12-round decision and his California super-welterweight title to Kenny Lopez Thursday night.

The bout at the Hyatt Regency Irvine was part of a private fund-raising party.

Lopez won by scores of 119-109, 116-112 and 116-112.

Lopez (19-12) of San Jose was more active early on, and then stayed away when Armijo started to come on in the later rounds.

Armijo, who has achieved minor cult status as the "The Fighting Lifeguard from Huntington Beach," is 16-6.

Neither fighter appeared in danger of going down during the bout.

Armijo, who usually enters the ring to loud cheers, was hardly noticed this time.

After throwing twice as many punches as Armijo in the first three rounds, Lopez's corner was telling him to pace himself. But he kept up the constant attack.

Armijo had little to answer with. He was able to slip a couple of lefts to Lopez's chin in the fifth and sixth, but no combinations.

Before the seventh, Lopez's corner was telling him not to think about being tired.

But it was in that round that Armijo finally seemed to come alive for about a minute. He twice trapped Lopez on the ropes, using his left to score.

Armijo got his jab going in the eighth, then used a long left to open a small cut on Lopez's cheek.

Lopez again gained the advantage in the ninth after Armijo scored with an early flurry. Lopez came back to land enough punches to take the round.

Armijo was in need of a knockout over the final three rounds to win, but never landed enough punches in a row to hurt Lopez.

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