By Miguel Rivera, photo by Luis Olmo
The future of former two-division world champion Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez is now in the hands of the Professional Boxing Commission of Puerto Rico.
Both Lopez and trainer Albert Rivera were present at an administrative hearing before three members of the Commission to determine the extent of the punishment for their in-ring brawl on October 29.
That night, seconds after Lopez was punishing Wilfredo Vázquez Jr. and referee Ramon Peña jumped in to stop the fight - Lopez walked over to the corner of his opponent where he was confronted by Rivera. and they traded punches before they were separated.
Herman Colberg, president of the Commission, decided to suspend the licenses of both men, and he also imposed fines of $1,000 on Lopez and $500 on Rivera. Lopez and Rivera have filed separate petitions for reconsideration.
As he entered the room where Colberg and commissioners Miguel Ortega and Dommys Delgado were waiting for a brief questioning session, Lopez approached Rivera and they embraced.
"Under the heat of the situation, the adrenaline was at 2,000 percent, sometimes for the same heat of the moment and I got out of control. It was a mistake we made, I apologize to the Commission, the fans and the press. Again I apologize as it should not have happened. It was not the right way for us to act," said Lopez, according to reporter Carlos Gonzalez.
"I hope the Commission will take into consideration that boxing is the way I make a living. My career has taken a major turn with the victory over Vazquez, but a long suspension would definitely end it."
Rivera immediately responded that his intentions were to provide assistance to Vázquez Jr.
"I received permission from an officer to go and get my boxer (Vázquez). I did not have time to walk to Lopez. I still had one foot between the ropes when I realized Juanma was coming toward me. I had to defend myself," said Rivera, who acknowledged that he assaulted Lopez with multiple punches.