Few boxers have fallen off as sharply as Juan Manuel Lopez has over the past two years. Once considered one of the brightest young stars in the sport, the Puerto Rican power puncher has suffered some horrific beatings in his recent bouts against top opposition. His fights against Orlando Salido were great but neither concluded with Lopez's hand raised and he took some massive shots in the process. Combined with his recent loss to Mikey Garcia, a one-sided fourth round stoppage, these fights would seem to serve as a warning for Lopez to possibly think about getting out of the sport while he still can with relative health.
Ever the warrior, JuanMa says he is coming back this winter, but at junior lightweight. Here is what he had to say, via Rey Colon at Boxing Scene:
"Right now I'm resting. I have not sat down with my promoter to discuss (my next step). Next week I start physical conditioning because I have to take care of that. (My next fight) would have to wait until December or January. I'm not going to make a quick return. I am overweight. Right now I'm at 155 pounds and when I can box, I will be at 130.
"I'm not retired but I'm not going back to 126. Something happened in the (Garcia fight), I do not know how to explain it. He was in great physical condition. The first round was fairly even but from there I went ahead and became disoriented and got lost in the fight. I never really got my distance. I never found it."
How serious is this comeback? One can never tell but allowing himself to get up to 155 can never be a positive sign when one's goal is to get down to 130. It was surprising that he was the one who actually made weight for the Garcia fight after he had struggles in the past with getting down to 126.
So is this a good idea? I think I know the answer most will give.
For me, I think he needs to be careful. I know we shouldn't tell a guy when to hang 'em up and all, but he has taken horrible punishment in some of his fights and I don't think he is ever going to shore up that defense. By this point, the age of 30, he is who he is. I can't foresee anything better for him than being used as a "name" for younger fighters for the rest of his career.