After watching the slugfest that was Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Orlando Salido, all I have to say is can I see that again? It was a truly great fight, and will go down in the record books as one of the great fights of the Puerto Rico-Mexico boxing rivalry.
The ninth round was as good as you'll see, as it was a back-and-forth battle in which both guys literally did not stop throwing punches from bell to bell, it was absolutely incredible and will be tough to beat for round of the year.
Now as for the result, Orlando Salido won and retained his WBO Featherweight World Championship. Salido fought an excellent fight, and out landed Lopez 2-1 in the all important power punching category. Salido has breathed new life into his career at the age of 31, and there are certainly a lot of options out there for him.
One fight I'd like to see is for Salido to move up and face young up-and-coming star Adrien Broner at 130 pounds for a title, or a fight with 24-year-old Mikey Garcia, who scored a knockout on the undercard. Either would make for great fights.
Salido looked great in this fight, putting on constant pressure and not letting JuanMa breathe for a second. He threw hard, short, crisp punches and thoroughly deserved the victory. Salido took Lopez's best shots and kept coming forward, reminiscent of so many Mexican warriors. At this point, there is no where to look but up for Salido.
On the flip side, Lopez is at a crossroads in his career. He drops to 31-2, with two losses in his last three fights. Lopez needs to rebuild, and luckily for him he is still young enough at 28 to do that. Lopez is an excellent fighter, and he was actually ahead on the scorecards at the time of stoppage. He has the tools to be a world champion again, that is for certain.
Lopez should take a couple of easy fights and work his way back into contention for perhaps the next year or so, before making a title run in 2013. Honestly, I expect Lopez to be a world champion again by this time next year, as he'd beat most fighters around 126 pounds not named Salido.
Overall, this was a great night of boxing. It was a great fight and was a thrill to watch live. If every fight was that good, boxing would be the most popular sport out there. Hopefully, somewhere down the line these two will meet again, because they can't help but make a great fight.
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