Salido Stops JuanMa in the Rematch

By Paul Strauss: Orlando Salido once again went into Juan Manual Lopez’ backyard, this time at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico and beat him. It took him two more rounds this time, but he got the job done, and it was a good thing because it must have seemed like everyone was against him, even the odds makers. In the first fight on April 16th of last year, he was an eight to one underdog, and as the defending champion, he still couldn’t convince every one of his abilities, because he remained an underdog; although, a closer two to one disadvantage.

Encouraging for Orlando was the great Mexican fighters that were in attendance on his behalf. Just to name a few, there were Julio Cesar Chavez, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Jorge Arce in attendance. JuanMa’s most notable supporter was Tito Trinidad, along with a hometown crowd.

The rematch proved to exceed everyone’s expectations for toe to toe action. Fans were treated to what proved to be fight of the year. The fight started out with Orlando being the aggressor. JuanMa boxed and looked for opportunities to counter, especially with the right hook.

JuanMa seemed especially careful to defend against Orlando’s right hand, which often times comes from unusual angles and is hard to pick up. However, JuanMa’s style leaves him straight up, even when under attack, and he doesn’t move his head. Early on Orlando pressed him against the ropes, and JuanMa foolishly let him fire off combinations. But, JuanMa was escaping serious damage, because Orlando was just missing with his big shots, and his rights were bouncing off of JuanMa’s high and tight left glove. It seemed as long as JuanMa kept that right glove in place he would be alright.

The problem with that tactic meant JuanMa had to kept from using his left to punch. That allowed Orlando to control the action and win rounds. JuanMa gradually loosened up, and started to get more aggressive and rough, as he started using his elbows on the inside. From the southpaw stance, he started to grab Orlando behind the head with his right glove, and hit with his left. Fortunately for him, Referee Roberto Ramirez, Sr. didn’t warn him. In fact, the referee seemed to gesture to Orlando to keep his head up.

In the fifth round, Orlando was pressing again, but in the process he ran into a beautiful short right hook from JuanMa. It was not a big punch, and didn’t travel that far, but it was right on target. It hit the point or Orlando’s chin, and down he went.

Orlando used good sense, and stayed on a knee for about a count of eight. He wisely wanted to make sure he fully regained his senses. Encouraged by the prospect of finally getting to his nemesis, JuanMa started ripping hard shots to the body, some seemed to stray a bit low, but again no warning. JuanMa seemed to tire just a bit, and Orlando started coming back strong, and by the end of the round, he once again was the aggressor.

The next few rounds were good ones for JuanMa. He was the putting on a lot of pressure and continued to rip shots to the body, and seemed find the target a bit more with his right hook. Orlando’s face was starting to swell under the eyes. But, Orlando was still landing more consistently. He was bobbing and weaving and moving his head side to side. With JuanMa missing, Orlando would make him pay.

The ninth round was a great one. There were some tremendous exchanges. Lopez was once again energized and was putting on a lot of pressure. He also was exercising the hold and hit tactic again. Orlando managed to dip down and slide out from under the attempted hold, and then he would come back with some good shots, so tactic was backfiring on JuanMa.

By this time in the fight, Showtime’s unofficial ringside scorer and former judge Chuck Giampa had the fight scored 88-83 for Salido. In the tenth, JuanMa once again attempted to take control, but after one push forward, Orlando managed to side-step him, and quickly come back with a right hand. It landed flush and visibly hurt JuanMa.

Orlando knew immediately the damage had been done, and he quickly followed with very hard left and right uppercuts, and finished him off with a left hook. Down went JuanMa, and as he landed his head and neck seemed disjointed. He was really out of it. About the only good thing was his head didn’t hit the canvas.

JuanMa’s heart gave him the strength to get up, but his legs and brain weren’t cooperating. When Referee Ramirez, Sr. signaled for him to raise both gloves and move toward him, he couldn’t do it without stumbling. The Referee had no choice but to call a halt to the fight. It was 32 seconds into Round 10. Orlando Salido managed to hang on to his WBO featherweight title in spectacular fashion.

The only sour note was in the post-fight interview when JuanMa, obviously not himself, made some outlandish accusations about the referee and his son, who refereed the 1st fight. He accused them of having “gambling problems”? Even after viewing a replay of the stoppage, and witnessing for himself the bad shape he was in, JuanMa still refused to face up to defeat.

It was a very good thing for Orlando that he did stop JuanMa, because two of the three judges had Lopez a head in the fight, and the third had it a draw. Showtime’s announcers Al Bernstein, Gus Johnson, and former champ Antonio Tarver all thought Orlando Salido was winning the fight at the time of the stoppage, and they also thought it was a good stoppage. The punch stats supported their opinions. The stats showed Orlando landing two to one power shots to JuanMa. Even when Lopez was pressing forward, he was running into more shots than he was landing. Orlando deserved the win, and thankfully for him, he managed to take it out of the hands of the judges.

Article posted on 11.03.2012

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