Orlando Salido-Juan Manuel Lopez II Likely For March 31st In Puerto Rico

Orlando SalidoBy James Slater: When featherweights Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido met back in April of this year, Lopez was an unbeaten upcoming star who was defending the WBO title. Today, in light of Salido’s big upset stoppage win, it is the Mexican who is the champ, “Juanma’s” stock has fallen at least a little.

The “repeat or revenge” match looks set to take place (according to Fightnews and Boxrec) on March 31st in Lopez’ homeland of Puerto Rico, the scene of the first fight. 31-year-old Salido, 37-11-2(25) has enjoyed two wins since the biggest night of his pro career: one title retention against Kenichi Yamaguchi (WTKO11) and, last time out on Dec. 17th, an up from the floor non-title win over Weng Haya (WTKO8, Salido going down in the 3rd and 4th rounds).

28-year-old Lopez, 31-1(28) has fought just once since losing his belt and perfect record: a quick, 2nd-round blast out of Mike Oliver in October. Both guys will be determined to win the return - Lopez to prove the loss was a fluke, Salido to prove it wasn’t; but it must be said how the older man looked surprisingly vulnerable against Haya. Can the powerful southpaw known as Juanma get his revenge by way of KO next March?

A hugely intriguing fight, the loser of this one will have to take a big step back; especially if it’s Lopez. Two losses to the same guy can be devastating, and if Lopez were to lose again to Salido the stardom he wants and the massive fights he wants would fall by the wayside. I think the pressure will be on Lopez come March 31st, too.

Having home advantage will possibly prove to be a big factor in Lopez’ favour. Salido did say that in a return fight he would want to see Lopez travel to Mexico. Instead, the reigning and defending WBO 126-pound champ has to travel once again. “Siri” has boxed in Puerto Rico twice before, however, and it didn’t bother his performance either time. We can expect another tough fight for both men next year.

When they met this past April, Salido scored a 2011 Upset Of The Year candidate, with the fight also being a hugely exciting affair. In the return, I feel Lopez will get his revenge - by mid-rounds stoppage - in yet another thriller.

Article posted on 23.12.2011

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