Early in his career, Juan Manuel Lopez had a lot going for himself, but the only two losses of his career have put up a huge question mark on his future. Before the first loss of his career he accumulated some major wins over very credible opponents. For his 22nd professional fight he went up against veteran fighter Daniel Ponce De Leon in a highly anticipated matchup in which he won via TKO in the first round. Many fighters at 22 fights are prospects or contenders and his 22nd fight made him a star. Ponce De Leon is not an easy opponent and Lopez’ victory over him was what he needed.
Lopez would continue fighting top ten opposition winning close decisions or by knockout. For his 31st fight he went up against veteran Mexican Orlando Salido. The fight was action packed with both fighters having bad intensions in their punches. Salido would go on to get the biggest victory of his career and present one of the biggest upsets of the year by 8th round KO derailing plans for a future bout with Cuban fighter Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Lopez would have a tune up fight before the rematch with Salido within the coming year. In the rematch they started off from where they left off. They went back and forth for most of the match. In the fifth round it seemed as if Lopez would even up the loss that he suffered by hurting and dropping Salido. Salido got up and showed a tremendous amount of heart fighting back to score a tenth round TKO.
In the post fight interview Lopez had lost it and seemed to be very delusional stating that the referee was betting against him. Lopez would have gained praise and credit for his performance against Salido, but his post-fight antics even caused many of his fans to turn their backs on him. Lopez ended up serving a suspension for his comments and missed almost a year’s worth of activity, but the time off seemed to help his body heal. He has fought once since returning and looked like his old self against his opponent.
Future opponents being mentions for Lopez are Mikey Garcia, who beat Lopez’ conqueror. This fight would see Garcia move up in weight and would be a technical fight with power and precision. If a fight with Garcia does not go through there is a possibility of a matchup with Garcia’s stable mate Nonito Donaire. Donaire is leaving the bantamweight division after his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux and a fight between the two could be what they both need.
So where does Lopez go from here? Even though he lost a lot of credibility after the Salido fights, Lopez is still a name opponent who is very dangerous though he is still in the process of a tough rebuild of his character and reputation. Only time will tell what the future holds for Puerto Rico’s beloved son.