Tonight at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT, the early front-runner for Fight of the Year between Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez will be replayed on Showtime Extreme, so if you've yet to see this instant classic, this is your chance. It's a truly great fight -- I'd even call it invigorating to watch. We don't get too many fights this thrilling. We won't get many more this year.
I might get more into it later today, or tomorrow, or never (I don't know, man, I fly by the seat of my pants here), but this is a fight I find very interesting with the fallout, too. Not the Lopez gambling accusations or the WBO/referee business. Frankly I don't much care about that. I'm sure he'll be scripted a good enough way to get out of any trouble there.
I just mean, where do these guys go from here?
Salido's a good fighter, but we saw him in trouble in December against a far lesser opponent. Lopez is a good fighter, but there is some worry now about his long-term viability. He gets hit a lot, and he's shortening his career. With Lopez, I assume Top Rank and PR Best get him a couple lower-profile fights and build him back up. Really, as long as Lopez is fighting good competition once every other fight or so, and fights the way he does, he is going to have a fan base in Puerto Rico and New York. He's in no danger of becoming truly irrelevant any time soon. But can he be a true factor? I think that's a bit more up in the air.
As for Salido, I'd like to see him fight anyone in the division, and Mikey Garcia would be a great start. Garcia is a tough matchup for Salido, but so is Salido for Garcia. Mikey's win on Saturday puts him in line.