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An Uncertain Time: Juan Manuel López Waits for His Future

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Juan Manuel López, who went before the Puerto Rico Boxing Commission last Monday in a hearing to determine disciplinary action against him for his allegations against referee Roberto Ramírez, Sr., may be facing more than just a lengthy suspension in the next few weeks. During the hearing, López shockingly admitted to suffering memory loss after some of his recent bouts. For López, whose automatic 90-day medical suspension following a TKO loss to Orlando Salido on March 10 was doubled after his troubling admission, the end of his thrilling career may be in sight.

Interviewed by Jim Gray in the ring shortly after crashing from a thunderous Salido combination, López accused Ramírez, Sr., of wagering on the outcome of the fight. López said he did not remember making the comments about Ramírez, Sr. “I recall that when I opened my eyes, I found myself in the dressing room and this is when they [his team] told me what had happened,” reports Primera Hora. Salido stopped Lopez in the 10th round before thousands at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Pedro Hernandez; his co-promoter, Peter Rivera; and his manager, Orlando Piñeiro, López made his case before commission representative Alberto Arroyo, stressing his condition at the time of the interview and again publicly apologizing to Ramírez, Sr. According to Carlos González of Primera Hora—who cites an anonymous source—Arroyo has recommended a trio of punitive measures: banishment of one year, a $10,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service. The suspension would not run concomitantly with the medical suspension López is currently serving and would begin in September 2012.

Arroyo, who expressed concern over the health of López, submitted his report to the Commission, which will review it and make a determination possibly as early as this week.

López passed his medical examinations—which included an MRI and a CAT Scan—soon after his knockout loss, but his team will look to get further testing done in mid-April. “The tests would be more or less the same [as the earlier ones], but we will wait a month and take them again to make certain,” El Nuevo Día quoted Peter Rivera, of Puerto Rico Best Boxing.

Despite sporting an impressive record of 31-2 with 28 knockouts, López has taken a lot of abuse in the ring over the last two years. Except for his walkovers against a pair of ringworn opponents—Mike Oliver and Steven Luevano—López has been through the proverbial wringer recently. Before facing Salido, Lopez was nearly stopped in the last round by clubfighter Rogers Mtagwa in 2009. Next, Bernabe Concepcion dropped him with a hard counter left during the waning seconds of the first round of their two-round free-for-all. Even former bantamweight titleholder Rafael Márquez, long past his best, managed to shake López. “This is not the first occasion that I lost track of time after a fight,” López said during the hearing. “It happened after the fight with Bernabe Concepcion. I don’t remember how I got to the dressing or how I took the drug test.”

At 28, with the prospect of an 18-month layoff and possible health concerns looming, López has seen his career and his life unravel dramatically before the public. There is no telling what the future holds for him now.

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This post relies heavily on the following sources: Primera Hora, El Nuevo Dia, Fightnews.com, Univision.com, and Vocero de Puerto Rico. All translations from Spanish are by The Cruelest Sport.

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Tags: Featherweights JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ Orlando Salido Roberto Ramirez Sr.

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