Last night boxing fans witness this year’s first fight of the year candidate as Orlando Salido knocked out Juan Manuel Lopez in the 10th round to retain his WBO Featherweight Title. It was the type of fight that makes boxing fans fall in love with the sport as the fight was an all action packed war in a classic Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry. At the time of the stoppage JuanMa was leading fight in two scorecards 86-84 and a third judge had the fight a draw at 85-85. I had the fight 88-83 for Salido. Given the scorecards by the judges, had the fight gone the distance, Salido would have easily been robbed of his title. As a boxing fan, it is a disgrace to see those type of scores in a fight that Salido was easily winning.
Orlando Salido took the road less traveled by deciding to go back to Puerto Rico to defend the belt that he stripped from Juan Ma Lopez last year in what was one of the year’s biggest upsets. Salido went back to Puerto Rico to prove that last year’s win against Lopez was no fluke and had predicted another knock out win. In fact, Salido was so confident that he knew the only way to beat Lopez was to knock him out since he didn’t want to leave the decision in the hands of the judges.
The fight started off with Orlando Salido being the aggressive fighter and putting the pressure on Juan Ma Lopez. Salido was in total control of the fight and in the fifth round when he appeared to be putting some damage on JuanMa, he got caught with a right hook by Lopez that sent him to the canvas. Salido was hurt but he did a good job at staying on his knees and taking his time to get up. The fifth round was a difficult one to score. Some people could have scored it a 10-8 round for JuanMa but I scored it a 10-9 because I felt Salido was clearly winning the round before the knocked down.
Round 9 will be considered as one of the best rounds of all time. As of now, it is easily the round of the year. Throughout the whole round, Salido and Lopez trade punches. Lopez was landing some solid punches but Salido appreared to be the one doing the most damage. I honestly felt that Lopez was going to go down in the round. I was yelling my lungs out throughout the round! It was an amazing round! The 9th round is the type of round that will make people fall in love with boxing.
If the 9th round wasn’t enough, Salido’s 10th round knock out of Lopez was just perfectly executed as he connected on some beautiful combinations to drop Lopez. JuanMa almost broke his neck as he landed on the canvas. Seeing him get up brought me flashbacks of Zab Judah being knocked out by Kostya Tszyu. Lopez was clearly knocked out and the ref did a great job at stopping the fight. Assuming that the ref had let the fight continue, there is no way that Lopez would have survived the round. He would have been knocked out cold by Salido.
The post fight conference that Lopez gave will go down as one of the classic sore loser interviews in sports history. Lopez stated that he lost the fight because the ref had a gambling issue. He stated that in his first fight against Salido, the ref’s son stopped the fight early and that he had brought the ref’s gambling issues to the Puerto Rico Boxing Commission. Talk about a sore loser! If there was gambling issues, it was in the judges as it appeared that Salido was going to get robbed of an amazing fight.
I have added the classic 9th round and the 10th round knockout including the post fight interview for folks to enjoy.