Juan Manuel Lopez in action tonight

By Socrates Palmer Jr


Juan Manuel Lopez in action tonight

Undefeated Puerto Rican prized prospect Juan Manuel Lopez returns to the ring tonight to face tough veteran Juan Andrade. “Juanma” as he is also known as, is the main event on this latest installment of the Telefutura Boxing series, emanating from Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “Juanma” Lopez is looking to improve on his unblemished record which stands as of today at 17-0, with 15 knockouts. Andrade of Brazil is a fill in for original opponent Colombian, Feider Viloria (20-1). According to Lopez, Viloria had to be scratched as a foe after becoming MIA. Lopez said that he was not heard from in the past couple of weeks. Regardless Lopez is not taking his substitute lightly. Andrade brings a solid record of 51-10 with 44 knockouts, and is not at a loss for confidence.

“I expect a tough fight from Andrade. I really don’t know what to expect from this guy stylistically, but I do know he’s a veteran and he looks strong. At the weigh in today he was talking a lot of trash to me, he was really arrogant. He said he was going to knock me out at home. And that’s cool, so right I away I am hoping for an aggressive style. If that’s the case, the fight won’t go the distance. The problem for him though, it’s going to be me doing the stopping, I plan on breaking him down slowly”, Lopez.

“I’m not a trash talker, I respect all my opponents, and to me it looked like he was just trying to convince himself that he can beat me. We’ll see what happens when we see each other in the ring. A lot of guys talk a lot and then when its fight night they get amnesia. One they start to get hit they forget to bring that same bravado they had when the press was around them,” Lopez.

Lopez said that an estimated 4000 seats will be made available so his adoring Boricuas can cheer him on as he defends his WBO Latino Super Bantamweight Title, in this scheduled 12 round bout. For Lopez it will be the 15th fight for him in his native Puerto Rico. Lopez told Boxingtalk, that fighting at home is always a special feeling and he never takes it for granted. The venue for this fight is actually a 15-20 minute drive for Lopez from his home in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Nevertheless the hard punching southpaw is no stranger to fighting on enemy turf. In his last fight on April 28th this year, Lopez faced Columbian Jorge Otero, in Barranquilla, Colombia. Lopez disposed of Otero in 7 rounds.

Lopez turned professional in 2005 following the 2004 Olympic Games. The Top Rank promoted junior featherweight amassed a sparkling amateur record of 126-24.
In his 2005 maiden voyage as a pro he needed .66 seconds to take care of fellow debuting Luis Colón. Colon’s annihilation was a preview of things to come as “Juanma” would go on to defeat eight straight adversaries by way of knockout. Former WBO Flyweight champion Luis Bolano’s name is on that list of victims. Lopez stretched the Colombian in two rounds in only his 7th pro fight.
“I’m happy with my career right now and how it’s going. I’m actually surprised how much things have advanced in a short period of time. Being a part of Top Rank has been great. I could not ask for a better team from, my manager Orlando Pinero, to my trainer Alex Carabballo and conditioning Coach Victor Martinez, I owe it all to them along with my hard work in the gym its been a total team effort,” Lopez.

Lopez who will turn 24 next Saturday will be looking to deliver himself an early birthday present. He says that he is not at the point that he is calling anyone out and that he is only focused on his career.

“I know a lot of guys who were with me in the amateurs and I wish them well, but I only pay attention to my business. I’d love to get a shot at the winner of Ponce De Leon and Bautista (WBO 122 Title), but let’s see what happens. I take every fight one step at a time,” Lopez.

The humble and low key Lopez says that his focus and preparation comes second nature. “This is my job and I take my job very serious. I have 5 children at home along with my wife, so I can’t afford not to be focused. I fight for them and for my fans. My family, friends and my fans are my fuel in that ring. I’d like to thank all of the people who have supported me up to this point in my career not only here in Puerto Rico, but my people in the Bronx, NY I hope they tune in and watch,” Lopez.

If all goes according to plan for Lopez, he will be back in the ring on August 4th as part of the Erick Morales/ David Diaz Pay Per View showcase.


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