Sunday, April 17, 2011

Notes from Lopez-Salido

  •      The factor that dwarfs all other elements of Orlando Salido's knockout victory over Juan Manuel Lopez is that Lopez is no longer a featherweight.  Lopez stood flat-footed the whole night.  He didn't even use the enormous ring.  Lopez's struggle to get down to 126 is the foundation for everything else that happened in the fight.  He had no energy and he got hurt in the 5th round because his body is no longer resilient at featherweight.
  •      Orlando Salido caught the break of his lifetime.  For, Salido, a fighter who has struggled to make a name for himself in the sport, here is a signature win.  He fought a big name fighter who was not in top physical condition.  To Salido's credit, he recognized this and pressed the action.  His looping right hands were vicious. 
  •      It must be said that Roberto Ramirez's stoppage in the 8th round was atrocious.  Lopez was in the middle of landing a counter shot, and then Ramirez called it.  The fight was pretty much even.  Although Lopez was hurt in the 8th, he had a good 7th round and was still landing counter right hooks.  Although hurting, Lopez defended himself at all times.  When was the last time you saw a hometown stoppage for the away fighter?  Shocking.
  •      I honestly think that Lopez had a very good chance to win the fight, had it continued.  Salido was leaving himself very exposed after throwing his right hands.  I think the money punch was going to be Lopez's right hook.  Who knows if Lopez had enough left in the tank to change the outcome of the fight, but that punch was there for him.
  •      In their own ways, I think both fighters represented themselves well.  Salido came in to the fight in great shape and was able to execute his game plan to perfection.  After being knocked down in the fifth round, Lopez gutted out the rest of the fight on pure heart and muscle memory.  He had no legs but there he was trying to survive the onslaught, mixing it up and giving his best effort.  
  •      Bob Arum is the big loser tonight.  Fighters are like stocks.  They go up and everyone wants to buy; they disappoint and the selling is furious.  Arum had many opportunities to make a Gamboa-Lopez fight, which is now worth a lot less on April 17th than it was on April 15th.  Don't cry for Bob too much.  He'll be fine.  He played the odds and this time he lost.  He brought in a good opponent to give Lopez a hometown fight.  Eventually, a night like this can happen.  A fighter comes in weight-drained and takes a loss.  Knowing how Top Rank operates, they are not going to abandon Lopez; he's still one of their stars.  Even before the fight, Arum announced that Lopez would be moving up to 130.  We'll see JuanMa back soon.  That's a good thing.  
  •      Lopez will be a champion at 130 lbs.  Mark my words!  As we saw tonight with Victor Ortiz, there is a huge difference when a boxer fights at his correct weight.  Lopez has a 126-lb. problem.  At 130, many of his problems during tonight's fight will not surface to the same degree that they did at featherweight.
  •      Lopez does need to change his temperament.  He has fallen in love with his power and believes that all of his fights must be wars--and that he will win these wars.  As any student of history can tell you, eventually, all great nations or kingdoms lose wars.  Lopez has too much talent to let his career regress to this level; he is a general not a grunt.  Lopez has tremendous boxing ability and yet there he stands in the center of the ring throwing nothing but power shots.  In his current iteration, Yuriorkis Gamboa will be too quick for him.  Gamboa will be able to get in and out before Lopez can counter.  Lopez needs to remember that he was at his most devastating as a boxer-puncher.  He has a stinging right jab, a wonderful right hook and very good (but not great) power.  He doesn't have the chin to be an out-and-out brawler, especially at the higher weights.  If he refuses to make this change, his career's ultimate legacy will fall well short of the lofty expectations of those in the boxing industry, his followers in Puerto Rico and Top Rank. 

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