By Keith Idec
Juan Manuel Lopez promised his faithful Puerto Rican fans that he’ll atone for his lone loss March 10 in San Juan.
That’s the night Lopez will get his rematch against Mexico’s Orlando Salido, who upset Lopez by eighth-round technical knockout to win the WBO featherweight title April 16 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
“I am very happy to finally get the opportunity to regain my world title,” Lopez said during a press conference to promote the fight, “and to show everyone that I am still the best featherweight in the world, and that what happened last April was just a bad night. I will make my Puerto Rican fans proud on March 10.”
“We will make changes for this fight like all fights. But I don’t want to give too many specifics. Most importantly against Salido I have to be intelligent inside the ring. I don’t see him changing at all. He won his first fight with me and I’ve seen his last two fights before that. He’s going to fight the same style. You have to be smart and use your boxing skills. That is the only way to beat Salido. I learned that in our first fight.”
The 31-year-old Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs, 1 NC) has fought twice since stopping Lopez. He beat Japan’s Kenichi Yamaguchi (17-2-2, 4 KOs, 1 NC) by 11th-round TKO to defend the WBO 126-pound crown on July 23 in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, Salido’s hometown. Salido also overcame two knockdowns to defeat the Philippines’ Weng Haya (14-5, 8 KOs) by eighth-round TKO in a non-title fight Dec. 17 in Ciudad Obregon.
Lopez pummeled Mike Oliver (25-3, 8 KOs, 1 NC), of Hartford, Conn., in his only action since losing to Salido. The 28-year-old Lopez (31-1, 28 KOs) floored Oliver twice in the first round and once in the second en route to a second-round TKO win Oct. 1 in Bayamon.
The Salido-Lopez rematch will take place at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. It will be televised by Showtime, as was their first fight.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.