Before his loss to Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez was one of the Top Rank darlings. If there was a Top Rank event, it seemed that JuanMa's smiling face would pop up sooner or later, as was mentioned in an article by Tim Smith.
"Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, there was JuanMa,'' said Bob Arum of Top Rank, Marquez's promoter. "Whenever Manny fought I brought him out. We did a birthday party for Manny and JuanMa was there. He was enjoying life.''
However, some questioned whether or not JuanMa was enjoying life a little too much. Were all the events distracting him from his fighting career? He was never the smartest fight in the ring, could the extracurricular activities be a distraction? Right before the Salido fight, he was going through a messy divorce and all of these distractions could have been quite the mental strain for the young fighter. Yet, I will give Juan Manuel Lopez some credit for not mentioning the divorce as an excuse in the press conference.
"I have had a great preparation for this fight and I'm very confident,'' Lopez said at a press conference on Wednesday. "I never gave excuses about my last fight with Salido. He won. He knocked me out, fine. I don't make excuses. I fight. If the ref didn't stop the fight when he did last time, I'd still be fighting."
I have no idea what Lopez means by that last sentence. Is he blaming the ref for stopping the fight quickly or is he just saying that he wants to have a long drawn out fight? Whatever he means, Lopez is a great boxer but he tends to get into firefights instead of just boxing. If he manages to box for the whole fight, he will walk to an easy decision victory.
This fight will give us a good idea of JuanMa's celling. If he can adjust and mature in this fight, then I think he can be a fighter that's consistently on all p4p lists. However, if this fight looks like the first fight, then JuanMa will be more like a small Paul Williams. He will be a good fighter with a glaring weakness, Punch-Out style. Can JuanMa change or will he simply be the same fighter on Saturday?