By Miguel Rivera, photo by Juan Martinez
Wilfredo 'Papito' Vazquez (24-6-1, 19 KOs) had no intention of waiting until October 8th. He was ready to fight his country rival Juan Manuel 'Juanma' Lopez (34-5, 31 KOs) at their kickoff press conference.
The home crowd will be split when the two fighters collide at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. Carlos Maldonado, president of Black Tiger Promotions, is staging the event.
The two boxers have been trading words for several years and finally agreed to face each other in the ring.
The press conference was an extension of their verbal feud on the social networks. There was plenty of trash talk being slung by both fighters.
"I’ve never ducked anyone. I’ve never gotten any credit from Juanma Lopez. I’ve taken his crap and responded to those comments and now the fight is made. I will show Juanma Lopez that sacrifice defeats talent," Vazauez said.
Juanma complained that Vazquez was attempting to dictate their fight terms after promising - way back - to take the fight 'for free' and allowing Juanma to weigh as much as '160-pounds.'
"This fight comes from many years of talk from Papito Vazquez," Juanma said. "I remember a video where Papito said he would fight me for free at 130-pounds or 160-pounds, but in our negotiations you wanted a catch-weight of less than 130 and now you want 50% [of the money]."
Vazquez shot back - "I fight at 126 and spoke of fighting at 126, but then said 130. But if we’re going to change the rules - let’s make the fight at 15 rounds."
Lopez, a former super bantamweight king and WBO featherweight world champion, has not fought since September 2014 when he lost by knockout against Argentina's Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar in a battle for the interim WBA featherweight title.
Two months earlier he had lost again, also by knockout, this time to current WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas. Juanma has a 4-5 balance in his last nine fights.
Vazquez, meanwhile, a former WBA world champion at 122-pounds, made his last fight in December 2015 and lost a split decision to Rafael Rivera, his second loss in a row. Like Lopez, he's 4-5 in his last nine fights.