I've never been a huge defender of Juan Manuel Lopez's character. I think he has a lot of flaws, but I also think sometimes he's been the victim of poor translations. He doesn't sound as conceited in Spanish as he does in English. There was an interview with him today in El Nuevo Dia that I think demonstrates this point, so I've tried to translate the most salient points as faithfully as I can. This is not the entire interview as some of the questions are not too relevant or are things that have been published in other outlets.
For those of you who speak Spanish, the entire interview is published here: http://www.elnuevodia.com/enpiejuanma-944339.html For those of you who don't, read some of the questions and answers after the jump. BTW, I think this is a decent translation, but I'm not a professional translator.
When did you notice that you were feeling off?
I noticed right away in the first round. When I got to my corner I told them “I feel slow”. I felt slow, I couldn’t move the way I normally do. I hit Salido pretty good – I know he can take a punch – but I could never really hurt him. I didn’t feel good. It wasn’t my night.
What did you think of the referee Robert Ramírez Jr.?
I’m not going to judge him. Yes, I told Mrs. Dommys Delgado Berty (President of the Professional Boxing Commission of Puerto Rico) that I did not want that referee; I wanted someone with more experience. We told her on Thursday (before the fight). That day I told Paco (Valcárcel, president of the WBO) and Peter (Rivera, his co-promoter) informed Dommys. She said she was going to talk to Paco.
They wanted Gino Rivera to be the referee. But, suddenly, Robert Ramírez Jr. Comes into my dressing room (to give him the instructions). I’m not sure what happened. I’m not saying it was a bad stoppage; I’m not saying it was a good stoppage. You have to be up there to know. But someone did tell me that he had accepted it was a bad stoppage afterwards.
It seemed that when the referee stopped it, you questioned his decision.
Yes, I questioned it, because I was throwing punches. If I had been defenceless, then that would’ve been a different situation.
But I wasn’t out of it. Had I been buzzed or out of it, I would tell you. When I fought Bernabé Concepción, I was truly out of it and I knocked him out. But I was clear headed this time around. I was so clear headed that I remember taking pictures with fans after the fight and everything.
Before the fight, you said that the key to beating Salido was to avoid his right hand. But on fight night, it seemed you couldn’t do it. Why do you think you couldn’t?
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t move, I don’t know. I don’t know what happened.
But were you aware he was hitting you with his right all night long?
Of course! I even told my corner: “His punches are reaching me. I’m trying to move, but I can’t.”
My corner told me to make some adjustments. When he knocked me down in the fifth, my corner told me: “Fight at a mid-distance, block, and hold if you have to. Get through this next round (6th) and then we’ll start counterpunching”. That’s what we did and we dominated round 7.
In the Salido fight, you tried something that you also tried against Márquez: when he hurt you, you would go looking for him to try and hit him hard and demonstrate you were alive and in the fight. Do you think that could have affected you this time around?
It’s possible that in one of those exchanges he hit me with some hard shots. The idea was to fight mid-distance, going backwards. But since he got to me early, I decided to just trade with him to let him know that I was there; to avoid him dominating me from the beginning.
But he got me with some great shots. I was hurt. But when they stopped the fight, I was ok.
What did Bob Arum say after the fight?
I’ve read some comment saying supposedly that I had ballooned up to 170 pounds, but he never said anything to me. I never put on that much weight. Not at all. The most I weighed was 154 pounds.