Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) kicked off Mexican Independence Day Weekend by defending his IBF Featherweight World Title against former two-time world title challenger Joet Gonzalez (26-4, 15 KOs) Friday evening at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. 

Lopez hoped to become the first person to stop Gonzalez, but he was met with a stiff challenge and refused to take a backward step.

In the opening round, Gonzalez pressured Lopez with punches to the body. By rounds three and four, though, Lopez found his distance and began using his legs to set up shots from the outside.

Gonzalez’s high guard made it difficult for Lopez to connect with his signature leaping punches, but occasional counter punches on the inside kept Gonzalez from gaining momentum.

Lopez seemed to fade in the later rounds, and Gonzalez, with a sense of urgency, began pressuring Lopez as he did in the opening round.

However, it was not enough to win the fight. Lopez retained his belt with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.

Lopez said, “We knew that Joet Gonzalez is a very dangerous fighter. He never stops attacking. He can take anything you throw at him. We knew that’s what he came to do and that he came with a lot of hunger to take the title away from me, but I also am very hungry to remain champion.

“I hurt him. I saw that I hurt him. But, as I’ve said, he’s a warrior who can take anything you throw at him, even the bucket. He is still standing, and my respects to him.

“It was a very close fight. We know that Joet Gonzalez was coming forward. He wouldn’t take a step back. I know it was a tough fight, but I know that I won.”