Boxing


Juan Manuel Lopez-Orlando Salido Likely For April 16th In Puerto Rico

By James Slater: We still await the official word as to who WBO featherweight king Juan Manuel Lopez will fight on April 16th in his native Puerto Rico. A number of names have been talked about but, according to the man with all the news, Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, the “leading candidate” to land the fight is experienced Mexican Orlando Salido.

The former IBF featherweight champion is being looked at seriously as the next challenger for the powerful and ultra-exciting “Juanma,” and the fight makes a lot of sense on a number of levels. For example: 30-year-old Salido, in his last fight, dropped and went the distance with WBA and IBF 126-pound ruler Yuriorkis Gamboa. It’s no secret how Gamboa and Lopez are in line to meet one day in what will be a featherweight mega-fight; and if Lopez can do a better job against Salido, he will further beat the drum for the inevitable showdown.

Back in September, Gamboa failed to KO Salido, 34-11-2(22) - can the lethal southpaw succeed in getting a stoppage? Salido, known as “Siri,” has been halted five times in his pro career, but the last time was way back in 2000, when an unbeaten guy named Ivan Valle (who, incidentally, is still active), scored a 4th-round KO over him in Mexico. Since then, top names such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero (in the fight where afterwards Salido failed his drugs test), Cristobal Cruz in two fights) and Gamboa have failed to win inside the distance against him. Salido is a tough nut, no doubt.

It was in the second fight with Cruz when Salido finally became a champion; out-pointing Cruz over 12-rounds to take the IBF belt. And the veteran of almost 50 bouts never lost the title in the ring - he was stripped ahead of the Gamboa fight for failing to make weight; by a whopping ten-pounds!

Ordinarily, Salido is a dedicated and professional fighter, and if he does land the date with Lopez, the unbeaten southpaw sensation had better be ready for a durable, determined challenger.

Of course, the 30-0(27) star is really on a roll right now, coming off that big win over Rafael Marquez as he is. Already a two-weight ruler, the Puerto Rican banger will be expected to see off Salido if he indeed faces him. Thus far in his six-year pro career, only the seriously game Rogers Mtagwa has been able to really test Lopez. The warrior from Tanzania did more than that actually; he came within a whisker of beating Lopez in a gruelling, epic 12-rounder. Only “Juanma’s” sheer heart and courage kept him in the fight in the last round, when he was seemingly out on his feet.

As we know, Gamboa then faced Mtagwa, and he sensationally destroyed him inside a couple of rounds. When fans saw this awesome display and compared it with the out and out war Lopez had to go through against the man known as “The Tiger,” they wondered anew who would win when Lopez and Gamboa finally met. The upper hand, for the time being, was with Gamboa - at least in a mental sense.

But now Lopez is on the verge of having the opportunity to put his nose in front when it comes to who the fans like between he and the Cuban. If Lopez can look brutally efficient in stopping Salido, where Gamboa couldn’t, he will have regained the mental edge.

The talked-of April 16th fight really does make sense for Lopez - as it makes sense for the promoters working on building up a Lopez-Gamboa clash.

Article posted on 21.01.2011



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