By Michael Marley
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum is standing with his fighter Juan Manuel Lopez in reaction to a one year ban handed down Tuesday morning by the boxing commission in Puerto Rico. Lopez was given a one year ban for his comments about referee Robert Ramirez Sr., which followed the Puerto Rican boxer's ten round TKO loss to Orlando Salido on March 10th in San Juan.
Lopez, during a televised interview on Showtime, alleged that Ramirez was a gambler and the alleged activity may have influenced the referee's hand in stopping the fight. The boxer has since aplogized to Ramirez, several times. Besides the one year ban, Lopez has to pay a $10,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.
Juanma is currently under a six month medical suspension, which expires in September. Then the one year ban would begin, and unless Juanma wins a planned appeal - he will sit until September 2013.
"It's absurd," the 80-year-old promoter said by telephone. "It is too severe, especially considering the remarks were made when JuanMa was concussed, when he had just been knocked out by Salido.
"I mean, maybe I could see this if those comments were made the next day or something, when the fighter's head was clear but this was not the situation here. That's like penalizing somebody for making these kind of remarks when they're drunk."