By Jake Donovan
Wednesday’s presser in San Juan for the rematch between Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez revealed two things as it pertains to the main event: Lopez is intent on proving that the first fight was a fluke, while Salido just wants everyone to shut up and fast forward to fight night.
As was the case last April, Showtime will be on board to televise the clash, live from Coliseo Roberto Clemente (Saturday, 10PM ET/PT). The final presser before Saturday’s showdown saw both fighters say as much with body language as they did behind the mic.
Salido (37-11-2, 25KO) appeared disinterested for much of the media station, so much that he didn’t even make note of the promotional banner, listing Lopez’ name first despite the fact that he enters Saturday’s rematch as the defending champ.
The 31-year old Mexican was sporting his usual blue zip-up jacket with the WBO patched placed just above the heart, proudly representing the organization that crowned him champ in last year’s monster knockout upset over Lopez. His wardrobe – also including jeans and sneakers – was in stark contrast to that of the flashy Lopez (31-1, 28KO), who appeared in a suit and tie and with plenty to say.
Above all else, Lopez is trying his hardest to convince anyone who will listen that the JuanMa from the first fight and the one who will be present are two separate fighters entirely.
“I want to clarify that I have never offered any excuses,” Lopez said of last April’s affair, in which the Puerto Rican suffered a 5th round knockdown and was stopped on his feet two rounds later. “So Orlando, I don’t want to hear you say any excuses. I assure you that March 10 that title is mine.”
‘That title’ was Lopez’ – along with an undefeated record and a rumored showdown with Yuriorkis Gamboa. All of that went out the window the moment referee Roberto Ramirez Jr rescued the Puerto Rican southpaw from taking further punishment midway through the seventh round of an even fight.
Since then, Lopez has fought just once – a third round knockout of Mike Oliver in an uneven performance. Meanwhile, Salido has spent every moment of the past near-year knowing what it once again feels like to be a champ.
That hasn’t sat well at all with Lopez, who thirsts for a return to the spotlight.
“I hope you enjoyed your title reign, because come March 10 I’m regaining my title,” Lopez insists. “Orlando, you can return the title that I let you borrow for the past 11 months.”
Whether he woke up late, or just wasn’t in the mood to be there, Salido couldn’t be bothered to summon up a response to Lopez’ claims. Instead, he remained true to his motto of letting his fists do all the talking.
“I don’t have much to say,” stated Salido when it was his turn to the mic. “I now come to (this fight) with more confidence than the last time.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]