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Juan Manuel Lopez's Next Fight: Salido Desired, But Gamboa, Caballero, Gonzalez in the Discussion

Juan Manuel Lopez returned from his first career loss with an easy TKO win over Mike Oliver on October 1 in Puerto Rico, and is now weighing his options for a next fight. He still wants the rematch with the man who upset him in April, Orlando Salido, and a chance to get the WBO featherweight title back around his waist.

Right now, Lopez says he's resting and hoping for that fight with Salido in January or February. But if Salido doesn't want the fight -- and you'd be forgiven for thinking that he doesn't, to be honest -- then Lopez has other options. Here's a quick look at the names mentioned:

  • Yuriorkis Gamboa: Not likely. You'd hope it would be likely, but probably isn't. Gamboa is looking to move up, and Gamboa vs Lopez, while still a fight I think most of us would like to see, is no longer worth the risk on Lopez's side of promotion. (I mean what his team is willing to risk, not what Lopez is willing to risk.)
  • Celestino Caballero: Well, it would be long overdue and come at a point where Caballero doesn't look like he's much to be worried about anymore, but the 35-year-old Panamanian now holds the WBA featherweight belt. He'll be defending on New Year's Eve in Japan against Satoshi Hosono, a fight he could very well lose.
  • Jhonny Gonzalez: If not Salido, this fight might make the most sense for Lopez. Gonzalez holds the WBC featherweight title, he's a talented and respected fighter, and he's also chinny, which plays to Lopez's strengths. Gonzalez next fights on December 3 against Roinet Caballero, his third straight lousy defense of the title. As good as Gonzalez is, he's quickly turning into one of the most protected "champions" in the sport.

Hopefully he does get the Salido rematch. It was a good fight, people remember it, it will draw in Mexico or Puerto Rico. But if not, there are other options. Of course, if he doesn't get Salido, don't expect any of those guys, and instead look for maybe a rematch with Daniel Ponce De Leon at best, and a rematch with Rogers Mtagwa more likely.

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