By Chris Robinson
The boxing world is still buzzing over the heroics of Sonora, Mexico’s Orlando Salido this past weekend.
Fighting in his opponent Juan Manuel Lopez’s native Puerto Rico in the city of San Juan in a highly-anticipated rematch, Salido defended the WBO featherweight strap that he won from 'Juanma’ last April with an even more-riveting 10th round TKO. And while the future looks as bright as ever for the 31-year old Salido, there are several question marks now lingering around Lopez.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Lopez, came forward after the fight to applaud his fighter and mentioned an all-Puerto Rican clash with former champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. as a strong possibility.
Felix 'Tutico' Zabala Jr., who co-promotes Vazquez along with Arum, admitted that he wasn’t shocked to see the gritty Salido again overcome Lopez.
“Not surprised,” Zabala stated from Mexico, where he is at ahead of this weekend’s Glenn Donaire-Omar Salado clash in Mexico City. “It was a good fight. I wasn’t surprised but I thought [Lopez] was doing a little bit better. It was a hell of a fight and I think he did everything he could to win the fight.”
As far as a Lopez-Vazquez Jr. clash is concerned, Zabala is all for it.
“Definitely, definitely,” Tutico continued. “It’s a good fight and for Puerto Rico it’s big. I think we can sell out and it’s all about business, nothing personal. I think it’s a good fight for boxing, for Puerto Rico, and for us too.”
Vazquez is coming off spirited effort last month during his split-decision loss to WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire in San Antonio, Texas. Despite being dropped in the ninth and absorbing his share of punishment, Vazquez fought with courage and made a strong account of himself over the second half of the fight.
“I think he fought a great fight,” Zabala remarked. “Again, I thought he gave his best effort. For what he knows and for the short time he’s been in the business, I think he [fought] a very good, intelligent fight and I’m very proud.”
A fight with Lopez would require a move up in weight from Vazquez and he would be in treacherous waters against possibly the biggest puncher he would have faced to this point. But Zabala points out that it’s the power of his man that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Same way, more or less, that he fights all his fights,” Zabala answered when asked how his fighter should approach a possible bout with Lopez. “Fight a smart fight and Wilfredo can punch. We’ve seen that Juanma gets wobbled every time he gets hit. Wilfredo would have to box and look to put the punches together.”