October 29, 2016 Juan Manuel Lopez vs Wilfredo Vazquez Jr at Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan
Juan Manuel Lopez emerges from retirement to knock out Wilfredo Vazquez Jr
Saturday night’s boxing match between Juan Manuel Lopez and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr is one that many a boxing fan will remember. It won’t just be remembered for the 11th round knockout shot that Lopez threw his opponent’s way but also for the mayhem that ensued afterwards.
Chaos marred the San Juan event after Vazquez Jr’s cornerman hopped onto the ring to challenge the former 122lb world champion’s knockout loss to Lopez. Vazquez’s camp had been irked by the referee’s decision to stop the match without giving the Puerto Rican any chance to beat the knockout countdown.
Following his entry into the ring, Vazquez’s cornerman turned his wrath on Juanma and the two of them started exchanging blows. The ringside crowd too wasn’t left out of the melee. They joined in and started hurling soda and beer bottles as well as other objects. What followed was an ugly scene which security had to be called in to help quell.
Vazquez Jr on his part had however earlier on displayed a spirit of true sportsmanship by embracing his fellow Puerto Rican after his loss to him.
The Saturday night post match mayhem wasn’t quite a surprise, it was something that had been seen coming. Tension had been brewing strongly between the two former world champions prior to their Saturday night junior lightweight encounter. Vazquez had at one point even dared to say that Juanma repulses him and aside from that, the two boxers had nearly exchanged blows at the last prematch news conference. It therefore wasn’t much of a surprise that the fight night turned out the way it did.
A heated fight
The fight between the two pugilists was a fiercely fought one. The bitter rivalry between the two opponents was evident as the fight went on. They at some points literally clobbered one another forcing the referee to issue warnings to each of them.
Vazquez had the upper hand in the opening rounds. He was quick on his feet and kept landing accurate punches on the former two division world champion. Lopez on the other hand was struggling for the better part of first half. His punches were ill-aimed and he was continually being outboxed by his rival. Vazquez had kept landing him powerful left hands.
It wasn’t until the fifth round that Juanma began to find his footing. He came in strong in the fifth round to land Vazquez a right hook that saw him struggling for balance. The fifth round victory boosted Juanma’s confidence, he kept hurling several punches at Vazquez in the sixth round. Vazquez regained shape in the seventh round but thereafter began to falter again due to a problem with his right eye.
A stoppage in the 11th round
The eighth and ninth rounds saw the two boxers continue to rain blows at each other with Lopez clearly having an edge over Vazquez. Juanma’s performance downed a bit in the tenth round but this wasn’t much of an issue as Vazquez appeared exhausted at this instance.
Juanma managed to land Vazquez a sharp left hook that sent him to the ropes and saw him land on his rear in a dazed state. The referee, Ramon Pena, at this point decided to wave off the match.
Lopez winning after a return from retirement
Lopez’s Saturday night victory over Papito came following his return from a 25 months retirement. The Puerto Rican boxing ace announced his retirement from boxing in 2014 after he lost to featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar in an interim title fight.
At (35-5, 32 KOs), Lopez came into the Saturday match having lost only five of his professional fights. He had lost three of his last four matches by knockouts.
Vazquez on the other hand came into Saturday’s match having lost 7 and drawn 1 of his 32 professional matches. His stats stand at (24-7-1, 19 KOs). The former super bantamweight world champion is the son of Wilfredo Vazquez Sr, a former three division world champion.
What next for Lopez
Having defeated Papito at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente, the southpaw fighter now wishes to face either Abner Mares or Orlando Salido in his next big match.