I’ve been following the career of Puerto Rican boxer and former two-division champion, Juan Manuel Lopez. He’s one of my favorite fighters. Every time the 31 year old, Lopez fights I’ll try to make sure not to miss it.
Winning or losing, he’s entertaining to watch. He will come forward and throw vicious punches aimed to knock opponents out.
Lopez’s 34 victories consist of 31 by way of knockout. Only three opponents heard the final bell. No draws. And his five defeats were all from knockouts. His fighting style: knock me out or I will knock you out.
He was a feared fighter from 122 to 126 pound range during the pre-Orlando Salido time of his career.
Lopez groomed by Top Rank to receive the torch from Puerto Rican blood line of great fighters.
From Felix “Tito” Trinidad to Miguel Cotto and to Lopez, but the hard-nosed veteran from Mexico, Orlando Salido derailed the plan.
In 2011, Lopez needed to get past Orlando Salido to position himself in a mega fight with fellow undefeated (at that time) Yuriorkis Gamboa, the following year.
But the veteran Salido (perceived to be an easy fight for Lopez) taught Lopez how it feels like down on the canvas, counted out by a referee. Salido stopped Lopez in Round 8.
Lopez got the chance to prove, Salidos’ fight was just a bad night. A rematch set up in his native Puerto Rico. Winning the rematch would eventually regain his footing for mega fight opportunity.
He had the chance to prove it in front of his strong supporters at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But Salido once again, knocked Lopez out in Round 10.
The opportunity to regain glory turned terrible and Lopez never the same fighter he was after the Salido horror.
Lopez moved on after the horrible rematch. He won his next two fights via knockout. His confident came back and thought he was ready to take on the number one fighter in the featherweight division in Mikey Garcia.
Garcia needed just four rounds to finish Lopez. I’m convinced my favorite fighter, Lopez not belong to A level competition.
After that fight, I thought that was it for Lopez. He needs to call it a career. There was report of him having “memory loss” after a fight.
After the Salido rematch, Juanma conceded not remembering the “gambling comments” he said to Roberto Ramirez Sr. and his son Roberto Ramirez Jr. He further admitted that it was not the first time that he had suffered a memory loss after a fight.
Lopez might suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or pugilistic dementia.
However, Lopez fights on and knockout former champion Daniel Ponce de Leon in a rematch. He knockout De Leon in the first bout in Round 1, in 2008. But on his next fight he retired in Round 3 against Francisco Vargas.
On Thursday, Lopez was again knocked out in Round 2, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas on Fox Sports.
It was a brutal knockout. Lopez went down after receiving series of power punches from Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar. Lopez fell on his knees, and then he bent down, his face followed kissing the canvas. Referee Tony Weeks immediately stopped the fight. Lopez stayed in that position for a while.
It was a horrible sight, from one of the most feared punchers in the game, taking the dose of his own medicine.
During the final press conference of this fight, Lopez told that he want to retire after getting one big payday. But it seems that payday may never come.
I want to go for one big payday and retire. That’s every fighter’s dream, to get the biggest payday and retire. I always said at 32 I’d like to retire, but things happened to stall that a little bit. But I’m not going to go past 34. I want to retire before then.”