By Miguel Rivera
Former two division world champion Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez starts on the road of being a trainer, when on Saturday night the veteran boxer will start as a coach in the corner of Puerto Rican boxer Reynaldo Blanco, for the bout against Jason "Canito" Sosa at the Ocean Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"I do not want to get away from boxing because that's what I love. They are giving me this opportunity and I do not want to debut [as a trainer] with a defeat," shared Lopez to Carlos Gonzalez.
The former 122 and 126-pound champion hopes that this will be the first step towards a fruitful coaching career.
Lopez joined Blanco's entourage (14-4, 8 KO) at the request of William Cruz, the boxer's head coach. After a brief analysis, Lopez accepted.
"Alex Caraballo had told me that I would be a better coach than a boxer. It is not a secret that I am working with several people privately in their homes as a personal trainer, but it is something that I love. I am very grateful for the opportunity they are giving me," confessed López, who joined their team in the last three weeks of the training camp.
"The union with William can be long-term. He is interested, in fact, that eventually I'll be the person in charge of the corner of Blanco, but we'll see. I think I can continue to develop the boys as they should be, by sharing a bit of my knowledge."
On the fight against Sosa, Lopez acknowledged that it will be a tough test for Blanco.
"It's a strong fight for Blanco. The important thing is to keep the distance and use the jab to neutralize Jason who likes to stay on top of his opponents. I see many possibilities for Blanco because we do not bring him to lose and he will give a surprise," Lopez stressed.
Lopez, on the other hand, confirmed that his plans are to hang up the gloves once he makes one last fight in October.
"I was going to fight on August 24, but for different reasons it did not happen. What I can say at this moment is that it will be the last [fight I do]. Now, everyone knows that for years I've wanted to fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa and if a good offer comes up to do it, then of course I would accept it. In fact, there was talk in Miami, but the agreements was not reached due to money," said López.