By Ryan Burton
A few weeks ago the grudge match between former two-division world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (34-5) and former super bantamweight world champion Wilfredo "Papito" Vazquez Jr. (24-6-1) was announced in Puerto Rico. The bout will take place on October 8th at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. TV details are expected to be announced in the near future.
The two Puerto Rican fighters have been at odds for several years. While both fighters will enter the ring coming off losses, pride and emotions will be running high for both adversaries.
Black Tiger Promotions is staging the event that will be fought at a catchweight of 129 pounds and according to Lopez, they presented an offer that was too good to pass up.
"They came to me with a great offer and we accepted it. The fans have been asking for this fight but really what was important is that its a great opportunity. I am doing this because it makes business sense not because it's a fight against Vazquez. It wasn't something that really interested me but it's something that represents a good opportunity for my career," said Juanma.
Lopez has been out of the ring since September, 2014 and has lost three out of his past four fights but is still relatively young having turned 33 two months ago. Vazquez has also lost three out of his last four and is a year younger than Lopez.
Juanma has a resume much greater than Vazquez, with victories over former champions such as Rafael Marquez, Steven Luevano, and Daniel Ponce De Leon (twice) while Vazquez, who's father was a three-division champion, greatest victory came against Marvin Sonsona in 2010 when he captured the vacant WBO super bantamweight title.
All of those stats will be thrown out the window when these two proud Boricuas set foot in the ring.
Predictably, the two fighters traded words at the press conference to announce the fight but at least for now, Lopez is choosing to take the high road.
"He has been talking for years with a lack of respect and trying to provoke me. I don't worry about those things. That's the way he is - not the way I am. I try to conduct myself as a professional and will try to do things the right way for this fight," Lopez told BoxingScene.com.
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