Juan Manuel Lopez looked to be boxing's next star when he knocked out long-reigning WBO super bantamweight world champion, Daniel Ponce de Leon in the first round of their world title fight, on HBO Boxing. The fight which took place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey saw the bout called off after Ponce de Leon was unable to respond to two consecutive knockdowns.
In the aftermath of the fight, Lopez received a letter from Wilfredo Gomez, the boxing legend, who complimented him on his victory.
Lopez would make five defenses of the world title before moving up the featherweight division to become a two-division world champion, but his success was limited.
What Happened Next
After two world title defenses, Lopez would face Orlando Salido, a fighter who simply had his number. Up until this point, Lopez looked to be a legend in the making, but his eighth-round technical knockout loss left many confused and in disbelief. After a stay-busy fight, Lopez would try to avenge his loss to Saldio and get stopped again, this time in the tenth round. Two fights later, Mikey Garcia would knock out Juan Manuel Lopez in four rounds.
All the greatness prior was erased in three fights. The flaw of Lopez was he was too willing to exchange with his opponents, and often punch himself out. This was best represented by his loss in 2014 to Francisco Vargas in which he couldn't answer the bell after gassing himself out during a crazy firefight, as Lopez was unable to start the fourth round.
Lopez's career started as a decorated amateur and sadly turned into that of a high-level gatekeeper, as the final half of his career saw him using his famous name to fight emerging contender on the verge of a world title opportunity. As of now, Lopez has not fought since 2019 and is seemingly retired.
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