Put that one down on your ballot, folks. The Orlando Salido-Juan Manuel Lopez rematch will most definitely get some love for Fight of the Year for 2012. Salido went down in the fifth, but Lopez’ style on this night, that of a boxer, a mover, didn’t suit him. He reverted to his old ways in the ninth, the round of the year, a back and forth tradefest, and then got dropped and stopped in round ten in the main event at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday night. A right hook, then a left right left had JuanMa down. He arose, but his stumbling sent word to the ref that he was all heart, but all done. The end–of the bout, if not the concept of JuanMa as a heir to Trinidad and Cotto and a PPV driver–came at 32 seconds into the tenth.
Salido went 235-637, to 138-559 for Lopez, who moved a bunch and didn't seek to be first and be the aggressor as much as we're used to. After, to Jim Gray, Salido said he knew it would be a tough fight and that he'd have to land about twice as many punches as Lopez to get the nod in PR. Salido said he knew JuanMa is a warrior so he wasn't sure he'd finished him off. How about a third fight? He said he's ready for another.
JuanMa afterwards said that he was dominating the fight. The fighter, in one of the all-time sourest of sour grapes moves post-fight, said that the ref's son stopped the first one, and now the father stopped the second one, and said that it is because they have gambling problems. Roberto Ramirez Jr did indeed stop the first scrap and Senior halted the second, but gambling to me has zero to do with JuanMa being pummeled to a wobbly state. JuanMa said that he told the commission the ref is a gambler, and told them not to give him the job. JuanMa said he was being outpunched two to one in power punches but that he was dominating. JuanMa said he could have continued, and was shown the replay, and still stuck to that story, against all available evidence.
Gray gave him an out, but he said no, he thinks the ref was the difference. Gray told him he was ahead on the cards, and asked if he'd like a third Salido fight. “Whatever my promoter says,” he said. “I'm willing to fight with Salido or anyone else.”
Showtime televised the scrap, a rematch of their March tussle. Salido scored a TKO8 win in that first tangle, and I see no need for a third tussle, because it has been proven that Salido is the better man, and those that look out for JuanMa would do well to find him another style matchup.
JuanMa (age 28; born and lives in Puerto Rico; 125 ¾ pounds) entered at 31-1, while the WBO featherweight champ Salido (age 31; from Mexico; 126 pounds) was 37-11 -2.
Roberto Ramirez Sr. was the ref, while Denny Nelson, Mike Pernick and Cesar Ramos were the judges. Nelson had it 85-85, Pernick said 86-84 for Lopez, and Ramos saw it 86-84 Lopez as well. Chuck Giampa of Showtime saw it 88-83, Salido.
Tito Trinidad and Ivan Calderon were with Team JuanMa in the ring before the first bell.
In the first, the lefty JuanMa looked to dictate distance, as he threw and moved smartly. Salido tried to tag him as he moved to his left with his right hand. It was a tight round.
In the second, Salido scored with a right which wobbled JuanMa. A combo forced Salido back and we thought maybe JuanMa had gotten loose. The left hook worked for Salido with 25 seconds to go. Another tight round.
In the third, Salido had good luck stalking JuanMa. The PR fighter was backing up, acting like a counterpuncher, and we wondered if and when he’d switch back to his old self. Salido did good work in the last third of the round. JuanMa’s corner told their guy to hit first. Smart advice. They might have also said to keep your freakin hands up, and stay off the ropes.
In the fourth, the old JuanMa returned. This was a fighter, not a fancy boxer. He used his elbow, forearm, and hit low as well. In round five, Salido liked it because JuanMa moved more again. He was backing up, and moving laterally and since this isn’t a guy with the best balance in the world, it wasn’t working. Salido got knocked down from a right hook at the end of the round.
In the sixth, Salido threw two low blows in the first 30 seconds. JuanMa got hit with flush rights, and got caught on the ropes; the fans loved the action. In the seventh, Salido was the aggressor, and was in control, for the most part. In the eighth, it was a bombs away affair, because JuanMa sought to back up Salido.
In the ninth, Salido and JuanMa traded center ring. It was the round of the year, with both men landing hard, clean shots. Salido, swelling on both eyes, landed the better blows. Salido knocked JuanMa down to start the tenth. He was up after the combo, which featured two hellacious uppercuts, but stumbling, and the ref halted it.