Lopez-Salido on 4/16, Weights- George-Taylor, Nelson & McCrory on Prizefighter

NEW YORK (April 1, 2011) – Unbeaten Juan Manuel “Juanma’’ Lopez has caught the attention of most everybody in boxing with his exciting, explosive style and unwavering charisma. Following in the footsteps of his countrymen like Puerto Rican superstars Felix Trinidad, Wilfred Benitez and Miguel Cotto, Lopez has been virtually unstoppable as he’s compiled a record of 30-0 with 27 knockouts.

On Saturday, April 16, Lopez, of San Juan, returns to SHOWTIME® to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight title against former International Boxing Federation (IBF) 126-pound belt-holder Orlando “Siri’’ Salido (34-11-2, 22 KOs), of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, in the main event live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

In an excellent co-feature from Ruben Rodriguez Coliseo in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, undefeated Luis Cruz (17-0, 14 KOs), of Philadelphia by way of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, will take on fellow world-ranked Puerto Rican and former WBO champion Roman “Rocky’’ Martinez (24-1-1, 15 KOs), of Vega Baja, in a 12-round junior lightweight bout. Top Rank, Inc. will promote the doubleheader.

The 27-year-old Lopez, a two-division world champion, is coming off the most significant win of his career, an eighth-round TKO over Mexico’s boxing legend and future Hall of Famer, Rafael Marquez, in a tense give-and-take slugfest last Nov. 6 on SHOWTIME. The victory came in the crowd-pleasing, powerful southpaw’s second title defense and third fight at 126 pounds.

Lopez came away victorious after Marquez, who was vying for a world title in his third weight division, could not answer the bell after the eighth round due to a shoulder injury. Despite a point deduction in the fourth, Lopez was ahead by the scores of 78-73, 77-73 and 77-74.

A five-year pro, Lopez made five successful defenses of the WBO 122-pound title before abandoning the division to challenge WBO 126-pound champion Steven Luevano on Jan. 28, 2010.

If triumphant on April 16, Lopez could be looking at several possible compelling matchups, but he isn’t underestimating the challenger.

"I expect a very tough fight against a strong fighter like Salido, who is a true warrior,’’ Lopez said. “But at the end of the day, I will be victorious and will give my Puerto Rican fans a fight to remember."

An aggressive power-puncher who has knocked out 90 percent of his opponents, Lopez may not remain at 126 pounds for much longer. He recently stated he intends to move up to 130 pounds after two more fights – the defense against Salido and a possible rematch with Marquez.

“I really feel strong at 126,” Lopez said. “I’m eating well. I’m doing my diet the proper way. I definitely feel better than I did at 122 and I’m much stronger. But I may be moving up after the end of the year.”

Salido dropped defending champion Cristobal Cruz twice en route to winning a resounding decision and the IBF featherweight crown on May 15, 2010, in Ciudad Obregon. A convincing points victory – 117-109 twice and 116-110 – came in a rematch of a fight for the vacant IBF belt won by Cruz via split decision by the scores of 116-112 twice and 113-115 on Oct. 23, 2008, in Spokane, Wash.

In his last start, Salido lost a decision to his WBA counterpart, Yuriorkis Gamboa, in a wild knockdown affair on Sept. 11, 2010, in Las Vegas. Salido dropped Gamboa in the eighth, but went down twice himself in the 12th. At the finish, Gamboa had survived by the scores of 114-109, 115-109 and 116-109.

Salido, who turned pro at the tender age of 16 in March 1996, also went the distance while losing a decision to pound-for-pound mainstay and then-World Boxing Association (WBA)/IBF featherweight kingpin,, Juan Manuel Marquez – Rafael’s brother – in September 2004.

"It’s never easy to fight in a champion’s backyard, but I will give it my all to win and bring the belt back to Mexico,” said Salido, who’ll be making his sixth appearance in a world title fight. “I know one thing, Lopez is a great champion who likes to fight and with my style it should make for a great and exciting fight."

The 25-year-old, hard-hitting Cruz is ranked No. 11 by the IBF at 130 pounds and has won six in a row by knockout, including a TKO 2 over Wilfredo Acuna in his most recent start last Dec. 4, and 11 of his last 12 inside the distance. Cruz has gone the route only three times since turning professional in March 2007. The furthest he’s gone is 10 rounds.

But Cruz will be getting his sternest challenge to date against Martinez, the WBO’s No. 3-ranked contender whose only setback came in his last start on a close nod to local favorite Ricky Burns in an explosive, hotly contested match on Sept. 4, 2010, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The 28-year-old Martinez scored a knockdown in the first and won the early rounds, but Burns rallied to earn a victory after 36 minutes of gripping action by the scores of 115-113 and 115-112 twice.

Martinez captured the WBO belt in March 2009 with a fourth-round TKO over Nicky Cook in Manchester, England, and made two successful defenses in Puerto Rico. He scored a ninth-round TKO over Feider Viloria in September 2009 and stopped Gonzalo Munguia in the fourth in May 2010.

Gus Johnson will call the action from ringside with Al Bernstein providing color commentary and Jim Gray serving as ringside reporter. David Dinkins Jr. is the executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports® with Chuck McKean producing and Bob Dunphy directing.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at

Weights: George vs. Taylor

8 Count Productions
Windy City Fight Night 16
UIC Pavilion,
Chicago, IL
Doors 7pm, First Bell 8pm

Donovan George, 168 vs. Maxell Taylor, 166.5
12 Rounds, Vacant USBA Title
Sergey Kovalev, 174 vs. Julius Fogle, 173
Genaro Mendez, 134 vs. Javier Loya, 134
Joe Linenfelser, 154 vs. Jeremy Marts, 152
Luis Santiago, 148 vs. William Bokhart, 146.5
Jeremias Correa, 128, vs. Anthony Linenfelser, 129
Ramon Valenzuela, 160 vs. William Chouloute, 161.5

Nelson and Glenn McCrory return to the ring in Prizefighter

Johnny Nelson and Glenn McCrory will come out of retirement to fly the flag for Britain in the Prizefighter International Heavyweights event at Alexandra Palace on May 7.

The former world champions have both worked as pundits on Sky Sports coverage of Prizefighter but felt it was time to dust of the gloves and get back into action in the 18th edition of Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one night tournament.

The pair have decided to reclaim the glory days that saw them both claim world title and they see Prizefighter as the quickest route back to the top, taking a leaf out of Robin Reid’s book after he returned for the Super-Middleweights II in Liverpool.

While Nelson has been using the Sky Sports’ Ringside set to get back into shape with the help of new corner man Adam Smith, McCrory has set up camp in Philadelphia where he hopes to replicate Rocky Balboa’s tale and has been working with little known trainer Frank Akers.

“It may be a while since Glenn was in the ring, but the fire is still burning inside him,” said Akers. “Make no mistake – the Gentleman is still in fine shape and there’s no reason why he can’t claim the trophy.”

Tickets for the Alexandra Palace show have been in high demand already with American Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson, unbeaten Irish-based Cuban Mike ‘The Rebel’ Perez and big-hitting German Konstantin Airich in the early line-up for the show – but Nelson and McCrory are keen to keep the coveted trophy in Britain. Promoters Matchroom Sport are delighted that the Brit legends are back and hinted they could open the door for more.

“This could be the start of some of Britain’s greats coming out of retirement,” said Matchroom Sport’s managing director Eddie Hearn. “Age ain’t nothing but a number as they say and after word got out that McCrory and Nelson are coming back, Jim Watt asking when the next Lightweight instalment will be.”

Tickets for Prizefighter International Heavyweights at London’s Alexandra Palace on Saturday 7 May are available from Matchroom Sport priced £35 unreserved, £50 and £60 ringside and £120 VIP – to buy call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.

Article posted on 01.04.2011

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