NEW YORK (Aug. 30, 2010) – The World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight championship fight between undefeated titlist Juan Manuel “JuanMa” Lopez, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and Rafael Marquez, of México City has been rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The 12-round championship bout, originally set for Sept. 18, had to be rescheduled after Marquez injured his right thumb two weeks ago..
“Fortunately, my thumb injury did not prevent me from continuing my conditioning, including running daily,” said Marquez, who proved his durability in an epic four fight series with Israel Vazquez. “I am extremely grateful that my fight with Juan Manuel Lopez was rescheduled so quickly. On November 6, JuanMa and I have a date with destiny. I can’t wait.”
Both Lopez and Marquez bring an exciting style of fighting into the ring. Both are two-division world champions and they boast a combined record of 68 wins with an astounding 61 knockouts, 90 percent. The impending fight is an important crossroads fight for both men, but they are at very different points in their careers.
The southpaw Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs) is 27-years-old and has been fighting professionally for five years. He is a consensus top-10 pound-for-pound fighter and is widely considered a rising star. A win over Marquez would easily be the most significant of his young career. Conversely, Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs) at 35-years-old is well into the second half of a remarkable career. He has fought in 11 world title fights in his 15 years as a pro and he is a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. A win over Lopez would give him a world title in his third weight division.
“This has become the most important fight of my career,” Marquez said.
JunaMa, the pride of Puerto Rico, earned his first world title by stopping defending WBO junior featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon in the first round in June 2008. After retaining the 122-pound belt five times, winning four by knockout, he abandoned the division to challenge WBO 126-pound champion Steven Luevano on Jan. 28, 2010. Lopez knocked out Luevano in the seventh round.
In his most recent start and lone featherweight title defense, Lopez won his debut on SHOWTIME with an exciting second-round TKO over Bernabe Concepcion on July 10 in Puerto Rico.
Lopez dropped Concepcion in the first minute of the opening round, but Concepcion rallied to score a knockdown at the conclusion of the session. Lopez floored Concepcion twice in the second before the referee halted matters at 2:37.
“I’m looking forward to showing my skills against a great champion like Rafael Marquez, one of the all-time greats and a future Hall of Famer,’’ Lopez said. “It will be the biggest fight of my career.”
It will be the first fight for Marquez, a former International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion, since he evened the score with Vazquez at two wins apiece with a dominant third-round knockout last May 22. The fourth encounter of perhaps this era’s greatest boxing rivalry was fought at featherweight; the initial three were at super bantamweight (122 pounds).
The second and third installments between Marquez and Vazquez were named Fight of the Year in 2007 and 2008, respectively, by The Ring.
Besides Vazquez, Marquez boasts victories over world champions Tim Austin, Mauricio Pastrana and Mark “Too Sharp‘’ Johnson (twice each). After he ended the six-year reign of the previously unbeaten Austin with an upset eighth-round knockout in February 2003, Marquez successfully defended the title seven times before moving up in weight to face Vazquez the first time in March 2007.
If successful against Lopez, Rafael and brother Juan Manuel will become the first siblings to win world titles in three different weight classes.
Tickets, priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, are on sale at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino.), by phone with a major credit card, at (800) 745-3000 and online www.mgmgrand.com and www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are limited to eight per person.
The world title fight will be promoted by Top Rank, Inc., in association with PR Best Boxing, Zanfer Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.
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 http://www.sho.com/sports.