Following last night's loss to Orlando Salido in a thrilling fight, Juan Manuel Lopez accused referee Roberto Ramirez Sr, and his son Roberto Jr, of having gambling issues that caused them to stop both of his losses to Salido in the last year. The father refereed last night, and the son the first fight in April 2011.
Needless to say, the interview didn't go over very well. Now, with the dust settled, Lopez has issued a public apology for his statement via PR Best:
"For my part I apologize to Roberto (Ramirez) for comments I had made after the fight with Salido. Roberto is one of the best referees in the world, he did a great job, and I appreciate that I was protected because I was definitely hurt. Everyone knows how much I trained for this fight, all of the sacrifices that I made, because I wanted to give a big win to Puerto Rico and perhaps the frustration of failing in my country [caused the comments], and again I want to praise Roberto for his work. "
"I also want to give credit to Orlando Salido for his victory and thank him for coming to my country to give me a rematch. It was a great fight, everyone could see that, and I want to thank the people of Puerto Rico for all the support they gave me at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente, and to all those who saw the fight on television. Please know that I still have things to do in boxing and soon we'll be back to put the name of Puerto Rico up again."
Now I don't know if this was really Lopez so much as his management team, but it's good to see either way. He had to either do this or offer up some kind of evidence, and honestly, even if there had been some kind of evidence, last night's stoppage was in no way questionable. In fact, Ramirez gave Lopez every opportunity to prove he could go on, but Juanma's body just wasn't responding. Ramirez had no choice but to stop the fight, or he would have been criticized -- and rightly so -- for putting Lopez in serious danger.
It was a great, great fight, and I'm glad we won't have classless accusations hanging over it. For now, unless he brings it up again (and I doubt it), I think we can chalk it up to Lopez being loopy and disappointed. Both are understandable.