By Ryan Burton recently caught up with former two-division champion Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez who faces Daniel Ponce De Leon in a crossroads battle on March 15th that will be televised on SHO Extreme.

The Caguas resident spoke on a variety of topics including a proposed showdown between Mikey Garcia and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Lopez has history with both fighters as he was stopped by Garcia last June in four rounds and for years was on a collision course to face Gamboa in a mega-fight.  However, those plans were derailed when Lopez suffered two knockout losses to Orlando Salido.

"I think that is the type of fight where the first four rounds are the key to the fight.  I think Gamboa and his style has the advantage in the first few rounds but from the fifth round on it favors Mikey, but it depends on how the fight plays out.  If Gamboa uses a lot of movement like he normally does it could be trouble for Mikey. Mikey is a strong fighter who is very intelligent.  He is tall and has strong arms and legs. I can't say Gamboa is going to beat Mikey or that Mikey will beat Gamboa.  That is a very, very tough fight.  It all depends on what happens after the fourth round," Lopez opined.

I also asked Lopez about blue chip Boricua prospect Felix "Diamante" Verdejo (10-0), who is regarded as the next star coming from Puerto Rico.  Lopez said that the 2012 Olympian is definitely a star in the making but insists that there are several other bright prospects who are making a name for themselves.

"(Verdejo) is a great fighter.  He is the hot fighter now, the fighter from the Olympics that everyone is talking about, but he isn't the only good prospect we have.  We have a lot of good young fighters now.  Fighters like (John Karl) Sosa (8-0) who is a great fighter and many others. Jose Pedraza (15-0) as well.  All have good futures ahead of them," Lopez told

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