Juan Manuel Lopez and WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido put on an entertaining show on March 10, but the bout did have its share of controversy. Lopez succumbed to the power of Salido’s punches in the 10th round. And the 28 year old boxer took some verbal shots at referee Roberto Ramirez immediately after the match.
“In the first fight, his son [Roberto Ramirez Jr.] stopped it,” Lopez told Jim Gray right after his 10 round battle with Salido. “Now the father stopped it. The referee stopped the fight because he has gambling problems. I told the [Puerto Rican Boxing] Commission the referee was a gambler. … And they did wrong as putting him as the referee. It was very irresponsible for putting him as the referee knowing he has a gambling problem.”
Lopez’ comments didn’t go unnoticed by the World Boxing Organization, and the Puerto Rican boxer has been suspended for a year.
“He has five days to show us why we should rescind the suspension.” WBO president Francisco Valcarcel said. “Right now [Lopez] is suspended for one year. We are giving him a chance to convince us to [reconsider the suspension] in five days. And we took the apology into consideration. … His expressions were very misguided and unfounded. I know it was a moment of frustration but you have to know how to behave at all times. This is a sport where you win and lose.”
While I understand the WBO’s frustration with Lopez, I’m not sure suspending him for an entire year is fair. Showtime’s decision to interview Lopez immediately after the bout wasn’t the smartest (or fairest) thing in the world. And Lopez did seem a little punch drunk during his rant.
Hopefully, Lopez will be able to convince the WBO to reduce his punishment, and get right back to putting on entertaining fights for boxing fans.