Return of the Native

By Robert Ecksel on January 3, 2013
Return of the Native
Those who fail post-fight drug tests often receive softer, not stiffer, sentences than Juanma.


He did the crime. He did the time. All is forgiven and now he’s back.

Puerto Rican native and former featherweight and junior featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (31-2, 28 KOs) returns to action on Feb. 2 after an 11-month suspension. He will step in the ring against Brazil’s Aldimar Silva Santos (18-3, 9 KOs) at Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

If one were living in a rain forest or cardboard box the past year, one might assume that Lopez was suspended for using steroids.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who fail post-fight drug tests often receive lighter, not stiffer, sentences than Juanma, at least here in the US. But in Puerto Rico the need to discipline and punish is more developed, or more selective, or more severe, and that severity was meted out at the expense of Juan Manuel Lopez.

In a rematch against Orlando Salido on March 10, 2012, Juanma had the stuffing beaten out of him. Without having taken the time to gather his wits, he spoke candidly with Showtime’s Jim Gray.

“I was winning the fight,” he said. “It was a tough fight, but I felt I was dominating the fight.”

Lopez was not dominating the fight, no matter what he and two of the three judges may have thought. If he had stopped there and said nothing else, everything would have been fine. But he didn’t stop there. He spoke his mind, not realizing that there would be consequences and a heavy price to pay.

“The referee stopped the fight. The other fight,” continued Lopez, referring to his first loss to Salido, “his son stopped it. And now he stopped it. The referee stopped the fight because they have gambling problems. I told the commission that the referee was a gambler. It was very irresponsible for the commission to put him in as a referee. He has a gambling problem.”

All hell broke loose. The referee, Roberto Ramirez Sr., denied the accusation. Lopez apologized, or tried to apologize, but Ramirez wouldn’t hear it. He felt his reputation had been besmirched and he wanted his pound of flesh.

“Excuses only satisfy those who say them,” Ramirez said. “I heard the words of Juanma and the arrogance with which he massacred my honesty. I have already 184 world title fights and this is the first time a person puts into question my honesty and my integrity. I’m very upset…to say that I gamble is attacking my integrity and my family.”

Ramirez wanted blood and the Puerto Rican Professional Boxing Commission was only too happy to oblige. They brought down the hammer on Lopez. He was suspended for a year, fined $10,000, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

Juanma must have been given time off for good behavior. We welcome him back. Let’s hope Robert Ramirez Sr. won’t be the referee in this fight. And if boxing could develop some sane sentencing guidelines, we wouldn’t mind a bit.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Juan Manuel Lopez vs Orlando Salido II - Part 1 of 4



Juan Manuel Lopez vs Orlando Salido II - Part 2 of 4



Juan Manuel Lopez vs Orlando Salido II - Part 3 of 4



Juan Manuel Lopez vs Orlando Salido II - Part 4 of 4



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  1. Rick 04:28pm, 01/05/2013

    Sounds lovely. Any food with “mofo” in it must be some bad stuff! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  2. the thresher 03:37pm, 01/05/2013

    Rick, Mofongo is the signature dish of Puerto Rico, a mashed mound of plantains into which a combination of seafood, meat, or vegetables is added. Great with Beer.

  3. the thresher 03:35pm, 01/05/2013

    Es verdado!

  4. FrankinDallas 03:32pm, 01/05/2013

    Puerto Rico is still awaiting the next Tito Trinidad, because it ain’t Juan Ma. The guy has no idea how to block a punch.

  5. the thresher 03:28pm, 01/05/2013

    Point taken.

  6. Joe 03:24pm, 01/05/2013

    THE FIRST TIME THAT HE LOST TO SALIDO HE ATTACKED THE INTEGRITY OF THE REFEREE, ROBERTO RAMIREZ JR., TELLING EVERYBODY THAT RAMIREZ JR. WAS A GAMBLER AND HAD PUT SOME MONEY ON SALIDO. THE SECOND TIME HE ATTACKED BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON WITH THE SAME ARGUMENT. WHAT ELSE IS NEEDED TO BAN HIM FROM BOXING?

  7. the thresher 03:16pm, 01/05/2013

    But Joe, Jim Gray should not have pushed him during the interview when the kid had just been badly hammered. Gray can be noxious. He went after the kid like a shark goes after a bleeding swimmer.

    But I do get your point. Salido owns him.

  8. Joe 03:09pm, 01/05/2013

    HE IS SALIDO’S BITCH AND A PIECE OF TRASH. HE ATTACKED THE INTEGRITY OF TWO OF THE BEST PUERTO RICAN REFEREES. HE OUGHT TO BE BANNED FROM BOXING.

  9. Rick 09:28am, 01/05/2013

    I dont know what it is but I want some mofongo.

  10. Rick 09:25am, 01/05/2013

    I do not believe the punishment was too severe. I mean that was pretty uncalled for even if there happened to be any truth to it.  It possibly just seems severe because usually nothing more than a slap on the wrist is given to more serious offenses. But that’s another story. Having said that it’s pretty ridiculous to not expect something silly to come out of the mouth of someone that just had the snot beat out of em. Very irresponsible to immediately put a mic in the face of someone that just suffered brain trauma. Especially when it’s Jim Gray holding that mic. That guy is an arrogant clown in my opinion.

  11. the thresher 05:10pm, 01/04/2013

    Mofongo rules

  12. Pete The Sneak 01:16pm, 01/03/2013

    Hmm…I think the PR Boxing Commission gave him a little extra kick in the pants for getting whupped again (In Puerto Rico) by the rough tough and game Mexicano, Salido. Or at the very least, that sure didn’t help. Still, good to see Juanma back. Hope he’s been staying in shape and not noshing too much on the Mofongo and Chicharrones. Peace.

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