The Lighthouse Invites the Storm: Orlando Salido-Juan Manuel Lopez Preview


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Orlando Salido looks to turn Puerto Rico into Snake Island for the local hero one more time when he faces Juan Manuel Lopez tonight at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan.

Lopez, 31-1 (28), will be looking to avenge his upset TKO loss to Salido last spring. Between celebrity gallivanting, marital difficulties, too much time in the hammock, and, perhaps, one too many servings of Arroz con Dulce, Lopez was ill-prepared to face a rough-and-ready grinder like Salido last April. Quibbling about the stoppage was much ado about nothing, since Lopez had already been dropped once in the fifth, took a beating in the sixth, and was rocked again and again before referee Roberto Ramirez, Jr. jumped in to halt the action halfway through the eighth.

Now, with his personal problems behind him, Lopez looks to enter the rematch in peak condition. But will that help his poor defense any? Lopez has less head movement than that of a figure carved in the middle of a totem pole. In addition, he is susceptible to overhand rights and perversely fails to help his cause by dropping his hands when breaking off combinations. His biggest flaw, however, is his temperament. No sooner is Lopez, Caguas, Puerto Rico, clipped than he bangs his gloves together, asks for more, and begins to mix it up in anger. “Machismo” still exists in boxing, of course, you just have to look somewhere other than P-4-P lists, where headliners somehow earn accolades for elbows, butts, two-steps, and a vast array of Greco-Roman maneuvers. Fighting spirit is no longer a requirement to be a star these days, it seems, but Lopez, to his detriment, has enough of it to keep any real aficionado short of breath for as long as he remains in the ring. Indeed, Lopez is one of a handful of fighters who understand that boxing is an action sport and that the audience does not pay for tickets in order to flip through back issues of Cat Fancy at ringside. It is always hurricane season whenever Lopez enters the ring in Puerto Rico and tonight will be no different.

There is no way Lopez can look any more sluggish than he did last April, but Salido, Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, remains a tough assignment no matter how hard Lopez has trained this time around. Salido has survived the kind of poverty that serves as a backdrop for UNICEF commercials, brutal KO losses early in his career, a suspension, some personal problems, and, maybe most impressive of all, the pitiless world of prizefighting itself, where the 99 percent toil under the ghastliest of circumstances. After 16 years as a solid journeyman—swinging the short end of the stick wherever some knowing promoter would dangle a paycheck—Salido remains as hungry as ever. Playing banana man to stars and would-be stars is a hard way for a pug to make money for managers, promoters, trainers, and cutmen. “This fight represents my future,” Salido told El Vocero, “and this is why I am at a thousand percent.” Against Lopez last April, Salido, 31, decided to drop the predictable shtick and ad-libbed with sneaky rights, feints, a consistent body attack, and the occasional hard counter left. He will look to repeat the same act in San Juan and hope that Lopez will wilt under pressure once more.

After all, Lopez has not exactly resembled El Morro in durability over the last couple of years. He was nearly stopped by Rogers Mtagwa, was wobbled by the much smaller Rafael Marquez, and was dropped by overmatched Bernabe Concepcion. Salido, of course, toppled him in eight. Since then, Lopez has scored a single meaningless comeback victory over a shot Mike Oliver, notching a second-round TKO in a fight not fit for agate type. Meanwhile, Salido turned back Kenichi Yamaguchi in 11 and struggled against Weng Haya en route to an 8th-round TKO win. Haya floored Salido hard late in the third round of their shootout. Salido, 37-11-2-1 (25), was so badly hurt that he could not completely recover between rounds, and he hit the deck again within seconds of the bell to start the fourth from a light left to the jaw. But Haya did not have the skill to finish what he started, and Salido roared back to stop his unheralded tormentor. Still, the question should be asked: has Salido, who has been dropped four times in his last four starts, lost his resiliency? If so, then this fight may come down to who can take the most for the longest.

No doubt Lopez, a surprising favorite on most books, will be in better shape and far more focused than he was in April. If he decides to box more and work behind his southpaw jab, then he ought to be able to pick his spots with more care and possibly hurt Salido. It is a boxing adage that most fighters who are knocked out once by an opponent get knocked out quicker in a rematch. This axiom has been thrown for a loop recently by Miguel Cotto (against Antonio Margarito) and Cornelius Bundrage (against Sechew Powell), but can Lopez continue the trend? At 28, “Juanma” has looked sloppy for too long now to think he can suddenly transform into a smooth boxer-puncher overnight. Would we have it any other way?

In boxing, as in life, being careful is no guarantee against the capriciousness of chance or fate. No, and after the first hard, hurtful exchange between the ropes, Lopez simply will not give a damn and will likely ask for more.

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SEE ALSO:

Hard Case: Juan Manuel Lopez-Orlando Salido Preview

Days in the Wake: Juan Manuel Lopez TKO8 Rafael Marquez

Old Trouble: Juan Manuel Lopez-Rafael Marquez Preview

On The Brink: Juan Manuel Lopez TKO2 Bernabe Concepcion

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Tags: Featherweights JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ Orlando Salido

  • jet79

    Nice work CA,
     
    This fight strikes me as one between a guy who gets the most out of his potential, and one who’s squandered some of his. But given their styles, at least the answer to who’s better should be answered via attrition. That should impose some honesty on the verdict.
     
    I used to think that Lopez would beat Gamboa, but the former is just too friggin’ sloppy to turn the trick now. I think Mikey Garcia beats him too. Hell, even Donaire stands a pretty good chance. But I like what you said about Lopez fighting spirit. Like Paul Williams, he wants to make an honest fight of it even if it’s to his detriment. He might get knocked out, and I don’t see him correcting any of his flaws, but he’s gonna make you earn it the hard way. Part of the reason that the dye has been cast on Lopez is precisely because he wants to decapitate his opponents – the accoutrements just don’t appeal to him. It’s reckless, and it’ll cost him again, but it’ll be fun to watch.
     

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    CA,
     
    good preview, really looking forward to this one.  As you say, there’s no way he can look worse than he did last April.  Will that be enough? Like you, I’m not sure how many changes a fighter can make once they’re at the stage of their careers that Lopez is.  The combo of the lack of head movement, getting so wide and dropping hands after throwing would seem fatal. Perhaps the verdict will be death by misadventure?  His flaws and Salido’s resilience should make this one fun to watch regardless. 
     
    I have to lean toward Lopez in this one though. He’s got more tools and Salido doesn’t have a monopoly on intangibles here. But, I wouldn’t mind seeing Salido win, guys that like are easy to root for.  And I really should warm to Lopez, his vulnerability keeps things entertaining and his desire to fight is too rare these days.
     
    When Jimmy, JPM, Alex and I were in Vegas last February for Donaire/Montiel I saw Lopez walking around. He didn’t look close to being in fighting shape, but he didn’t look anywhere near 190lbs or whatever everyone was saying he’d ballooned up to. Then again, maybe I had my beer goggles on? 
     

  • HitDog

    Lopez’s future doesn’t look as bright as it once did, but I’m none-too surprised Salido is an underdog after the Haya fight. Just have to hope that hard egg ain’t cracked.

  • thenonpareil

     @HitDog 
     
    Hi JD,
     
    yeah, that Haya fight was a near-disaster.  The first left hook that dropped him was out of the blue and Salido ran right into it, in pursuit, hands down.  Salido did well to survive, but he looked completely out of it for a while there.  But Haya just got stopped recently, so it makes Salido look even worse.  Oddsmakers are not what they used to be–they’re like boxing “writers,” too many of them and too few with talent–but it’s hard to see how Salido can be a 1 to 2 1/2 underdog.   It wasn’t just one lucky punch that did Lopez in last April; Salido was in his face from the opening bell.  I love Lopez, but I’ve been calling for his downfall for a while before Salido got to him.  You just can’t get away with that kind of stuff–no defense, wide swings, etc.– against better competition.  I just hope we see a good fight because 2012 has been miserable so far….

  • thenonpareil

     @JohnPaulFutbol 
     
    Hi JPF,
     
    welcome back!  What you mentioned there is definitely the FATAL COMBO!  It would be great if Lopez turns out to be the kind who can make adjustments, but if he can’t, then he will be relying on power alone, maybe, to get the job done.  He got away with his poor technique against ancient (and smaller) fighters, but it was only a matter of time before he got kayoed.  I thought he would beat Salido in a tough fight the first time, but it was no surprise that he lost.  Hell, I gave good ‘ol Bernabe a chance against him. I don’t understand how guys like Lopez can have these glaring deficiencies and no one seems to try to correct them….
     
    I think you’re right, though, Lopez has more natural resources to draw from, so to speak, than Salido does.  But Salido is the boxing equivalent to form-follows-function.  The man knows what he has to do in the ring.  Do you see how he dips to the left to fake a hook to the body and then comes over the top with a right?  Try that on Rocky Rob next time you see him (which will probably be the last time you see anybody!).  it should be a good fight, 50-50, which is all too rare these days.
     
    Again, it is P-4-P nonsense that has clouded your judgement here!  No one comes out to throw down like Lopez does.  (Maybe James Kirkland, but with less skill, which says something about Kirkland.)  Only superior bloggers and bow-tie doofuses thought he was one of the P-4-P best and this kind of (pseudo) media overkill makes every win or loss some sort of intergalactic news story.  Lopez sells tickets and gives the fans what they want: bloodshed.  I’m all for it, man, I’m not down with this kiss-n-hug school of P-4-P All-Stars. 
     
    Beer goggles!  You can watch Ancient Aliens with them on….

  • thenonpareil

     @jet79 
     
    Hi Jimmy T,
     
    Thanks, buddy.  I agree, this fight will be fun to watch.  Very few fighters are aware of themselves these days as performers, but Lopez is one of the few.  I’d add to that list Pacquiao, Martinez, Kirkland, and even a guy like Wolak, who has clearly stated his purpose in the ring is to put on a good fight.  That should be the goal of all fighters.  Later, retrospect will allow some of the smarter people out there to make historical/ranking judgements.  That excludes superior bloggers and bow-tie cretins. 
     
    I like Lopez a lot, but I have never been the type who thinks his enthusiasm makes something a GOAT or whatever.  Because so many of these list-makers are egomaniacs, they think that if they like something, it confers superiority on the object of their affections.  Lopez is a good fighter–and that never seems to be enough, when it’s really an extraordinary distinction, even in these watered-down times–but what makes him stand out is his character in the ring. Personally, I think Gamboa would have destroyed him at any point and that’s why Top Rank kept the fight on the sidelines.  They didn’t want to replace a ticket seller with a guy, Gamboa, whom no one but the hardcore is interested in seeing.  But even that fight would have been wild, I suspect, while it lasted. 

  • JohnPaulFutbol

     @thenonpareil Well, CA, I was wrong. What can I say? Hell of a fight though.
     
    You know what else I was wrong about? That wild haired guy on Ancient Aliens isn’t a professor, he publishes some sort of tip sheet for wackos.
     
    I see you’re closing in on me with 35pts. I better go score some cheapies on bigfootencounters.com.
     
     

  • HitDog

     @thenonpareil Oh, we saw a good fight and more, didn’t we?

  • thenonpareil

     @HitDog 
     
    Not bad, not bad at all. 

  • thenonpareil

     @JohnPaulFutbol 
     
    Hi JPF,
     
    It’s OK to be wrong.  I won’t play SUPERIOR BLOGGER with you!  At least, not this time around.
     
    The dude from Ancient Aliens has the best racket going today!  That show is high comedy, boy….