Friday, May 17, 2013
Lopez on schedule for Garcia showdown
By Dan Rafael
After former featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez got knocked out by Orlando Salido in a world title fight for the second time in March 2012, it seemed like Lopez was poised to make the move to junior lightweight.
He had talked about issues making the featherweight limit of 126 pounds and after nearly a year layoff -- caused by his suspension after the Salido rematch because of the accusations that the referee stopped the fight because he had wagered on the outcome -- Lopez returned in February. His two fights (both knockout wins) since ending the layoff were both contested at 128 pounds, halfway between the featherweight and 130-pound junior lightweight limits.
But Lopez is going to fight at featherweight, at least for the time being, and is all set to challenge titleholder Mikey Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), who won his belt from Salido in January. The fight is June 15 (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
It appears as though Lopez (33-2, 30 KOs) is taking his training seriously and that making weight won’t be an issue. At this week’s Puerto Rico commission’s 30-day weight check, Lopez scaled 138 pounds, well inside the allowable weight of 144.9.
“We are working to make the weight and to get the best condition,” Lopez said. “Our goal was to make 139 pounds [Thursday] and we made 138, it’s so good. We are one month before the fight and I’m feeling very good with the training. As we made two fights [in February and April] this year, I kept in the gym all the time. We want to be in 131 or 132 pounds next week and work with that weight for the finals weeks, but I’m so good -- eating good and in a good mood.”
Although his weight is fine, he did have a gym mishap this week. He suffered a bruise on his face after falling.
“In reaction work with the medicine ball, I slipped on the on the wet racetrack and fell,” Lopez said. “Unbelievable. That’s the first time in my career.”