By Ryan Burton
Former two-division world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (35-5) and Jayson Velez (25-4-1) were originally scheduled to meet in September in an all Puerto Rican showdown but the fight was postponed after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
The fight has now been rescheduled for March 3rd at the Mario "Quijote" Morales Coliseum in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
Lopez is in the middle of his training camp and said that he is, "ready to knock Velez out."
The 34-year-old Lopez returned from a two-year layoff to stop his long time rival Wilfredo "Papito" Vasquez in October, 2016. Velez has won two fights in a row after having lost four in a row.
Lopez is training under the guidance of Alex Caraballo and hopes that a win over Velez will lead him to a bigger fight. He said that one of the possibilities may be a trilogy bout versus Orlando Salido. Juanma was stopped in 2011 and again in 2012 by Salido in exciting fights that were very close on the cards at the time of the stoppages.
"This fight is very important," Juanma said.
"This is another step in my career to regain my place in the world. Jayson is not an easy fighter and I do not underestimate him. I know it will be a strong fight and we are working for that. We are looking for big purses and big fights."
Velez is the current FECARBOX super featherweight (130 pounds) champion of the World Boxing Council (WBC). He snatched the title in March of 2017 and then retained the title for the first time when he defeated experienced Mexican Giovanni "El Ruso" Caro by knockout in July.
The one thing Velez will not do is overlook the veteran.
"It's an extremely important match. I will not be facing any boxer, I will be facing a two-time world champion. We will come well prepared, because at this stage of my career we have to win".
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