By Ryan Burton
Former two-division champion Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez will attempt to bounce back from his June knockout defeat to Mikey Garcia when he faces Daniel Ponce De Leon on March 15th in a rematch of their 2008 fight that Lopez won by first round knockout.
Garcia wasn't able to make weight for that fight which took place in Dallas, Texas and was televised by HBO. After not making weight at the weigh in, Garcia opted to give a portion of his purse to Lopez and didn't attempt to drop the addition two pounds. Lopez wouldn't use the weight disadvantage as an excuse as to why he lost the fight but he does feel that it had an effect on the outcome.
"I think (him not sacrificing to make weight like I did) made a difference. I don't think it was very professional of him to not make weight and not even try. I am not going to say that was why he won the fight though. Mikey is a great fighter. He is very tall, long and strong in the ring," Lopez stated.
I asked the Puerto Rican if he feels that the outcome of the fight would be different if a rematch were to take place at the super featherweight limit
"I think it would be different at 130 pounds. I feel stronger at this weight and for the fight versus Mikey, Freddie (Trinidad) wasn't with me full-time. Now he is. I trained at a different gym so it wasn't possible to be with him all of the time but now I am with him full-time and I am still with Orlando Pinero so that is another difference. I have my team together," Lopez explained.
The 30-year-old Lopez admits that he is entering the final chapter of his career and that he views this fight as a "must win" or his career will likely be over. He does however feel that bigger fights are on the horizon if he is able to leave the ring with his hand raised.
"Like I have said on many occasions, this is the last lap of my career. If I want bigger fights I have to win this fight. We both need to win this fight. If I lose that could be the end of my career even though I don't want my career to end in defeat. I win this fight then I can go on to bigger and better things," Lopez told BoxingScene.com.
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