Orlando Salido Upsets Juan Manuel Lopez, As Well As The Fans Who Wanted To See Lopez-Gamboa!

By James Slater: First of all, huge congratulations must go out to tough Mexican Orlando Salido, who last night ignored the huge odds against him in upsetting the previously unbeaten, touted megastar of the future Juan Manuel Lopez. The 30-year-old former IBF featherweight champ dropped “Juanma” in the 5th-round of the fight in the defending WBO 126-pound champ’s home country of Puerto Rico, and then scored the TKO win in the 8th when the referee decided the 27-year-old southpaw had had enough.

Now 35-11-2(23), Salido has set himself up for some big paydays. But as happy as fans are for the warrior known as “Siri,” these same fight fans are today upset that they will not now get to see the much talked-of showdown between Lopez and rival featherweight ruler Yuriorkis Gamboa. This potential cracker had been building and building, with promoter Bob Arum insisting he would stage the potential classic in due course; when the match-up had grown into a mega-Pay-Per-View event.

Arum knew the danger: that either Gamboa or Lopez, both somewhat vulnerable despite their withering power, could lose in the meantime, thus spoiling the seemingly inevitable clash. That’s just what happened last night! Will we now get to see Gamboa Vs. Lopez? And if we do, will it have the same attractive quality now that Lopez has a “1” in his loss column?

Lopez had spoken of wanting to, after he’d gotten past Salido, move up to 130-pounds, win a belt there and then face the Cuban defector. This could still happen (and maybe Lopez will at least partially put last night’s loss down to the struggle of making 126 one last time), and with their exciting styles, Gamboa-Lopez would still prove a hit with fans. But there is something about seeing two budding stars squaring off in a big, defining fight when both are sporting perfect records. The upset element in this great sport took that away last night.

As for Salido - who showed how dangerous he was in his previous fight, when he dropped Gamboa and took him the full 12-rounds - he has earned himself at least one more big fight. Maybe a Salido-Gamboa II will be looked at, maybe a Salido-Chris John clash (assuming we do not see another upset tonight in Jakarta, where John will defend his WBA belt against the unfancied Daud Cino Yordan).

For now, though, Salido - who has been in with so many top names in his time, including Robert Guerrero, Juan Manuel Marquez, Rogers Mtagwa and Cristobal Cruz - can bask in the glory his fists brought him last night. And the fans can mourn the (probable) loss of a potential thriller in Gamboa-Lopez!

Article posted on 17.04.2011

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