The rematch between WBO Featherweight Champion Orlando Salido and former champion Juan Manuel Lopez will certainly be a contender for the fight of the year when 2012 draws to a close and round nine should go down in history as a classic.
Salido journeyed from his homeland of Mexico to take on Lopez in his native Puerto Rico on March 10 and the result was similar to the first time they last April when Salido stopped Lopez in the eighth round to lift his title belt. Many people questioned why Salido would choose to travel to Puerto Rico again to defend his title, but the superstitious champion obviously felt if he was fortunate enough to win the title there he could also defend it there.
Many Mexican vs Puerto Rican battles bring out the best in each combatant and this was no exception. Both men gave it their all after with Salido appearing to be landing the more damaging shots. He wobbled Lopez in the fifth round with a couple of excellent right hands. However, the southpaw challenger caught him with a beautifully-timed short right hook when the champion was moving in on him. The shot must have travelled no more than six inches and sent Salido crashing to the canvas. He managed to beat the count and the bell sounded shortly after before Lopez could inflict any more damage on him.
The ninth round was an instant classic and reminiscent of the opening round of the Thomas Hearns vs Marvin Hagler bout back in the mid 1980s. Both men stood toe to toe for close to all three minutes of the round and simply slugged it out. It took a lot more out of Lopez than it did Salido though as the champion landed a brutal four-punch combination, including a pair of tremendous uppercuts, to Lopez’s head early in the 10th round.
The shots sent Lopez to the deck. Incredibly, he managed to get to his feet before the count of 10, but was on very unsteady legs. After referee Roberto Ramirez waved him forwards it was obvious he couldn’t continue and the fight was halted at the 32 second mark of the round. It was 10 rounds of non-stop action and arguably better than their first fight.
A third match is a distinct possibility since promoters and television networks realize it will garner a lot of attention from fans and sponsors. Even though Salido was the victor and successfully defended his belt for the third time he had visible damage under both eyes which might take some time to heal.
With the win, the 31-year-old Salido raises his record to 38-11-2 with 26 KOs and the 28-year-old Lopez falls to 31-2 with 28 KOS. After the fight Lopez said the referee stopped the fight too early and he felt he was dominating. However, most boxing fans will agree that the referee had no choice other than to end the bout due to the condition Lopez was in after the knockdown.
Lopez seemed to lose the plot though when he claimed Martinez stopped the fight because he has a gambling problem. Ironically, Ramirez’s son refereed the first bout between the two and that was a questionable stoppage as he ended it a bit too quickly. However, Lopez apologized to Martinez for his remarks the next day via a written statement and thanked the referee for protecting him because he realized later that he was definitely hurt.
Many fans were surprised when the official score cards had Lopez ahead on two of them 86-84 and the third has the bout even at 86-84. Salido entered the ring as an eight to one underdog.Written by Ian Palmer via FeedCrossing, Content News Source
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