Category: Featured News
Published on Monday, 12 March 2012 10:13
Written by Super User
By Jody Kohn
The great thing about boxing is that ultimately you have to back up your hype. You can be built up through clever promotion and matchmaking, but eventually, if you don't possess the goods, you will be exposed. Juan Manuel Lopez learned this the hard way.
Bob Arum and Top Rank had told everyone who would listen that this guy was the next great superstar. They had a lot of the public and most certainly Lopez himself believing it. And for the early part of his career, it looked like it might be true. Then Lopez ran into Oscar Salido who never get the memo. Two knockout losses later, Lopez' stock has taken a significant blow.
It wasn't long ago where Juanma felt he was on top of the world. He felt so sure of his place in the sport that he told much more accomplished world champions such as Celestino Caballero, who had pushed for a fight against him, that he was not worthy to share the same ring with him. Apparently Juanma was under the impression that he was already a top tier draw despite not even being able to draw 5,000 fans to his fights in Las Vegas. Outside of Puerto Rico, only the man himself, and of course Bob Arum were buying into the hype.
Clearly two losses are not the end of a career. Much, much better boxers than Juanma have suffered multiple defeats and are still considered all time greats. So these two setbacks alone are not career killers. The problem with Lopez is that he doesn't accept blame for the losses. Instead he places it on others, choosing to think it is their fault he came out on the short end.
After his latest defeat in a bout where everything was set up in order to ensure his victory, Juanma made a ridiculous claim that the referee was at fault for his loss. Citing the ref's gambling issues, Juanma not only embarrassed himself, but he potentially gave another black eye to a sport that has taken enough of a beating in recent years. By claiming that there was corruption involved, Juanma was trying to protect his own fragile ego at the expense of the sport that gave him the ability to make a living.
Of course if Juanma wanted to point out corruption, he could have pointed to the judges scorecards which saw him leading on two cards and even on another at the time of the knockout. Apparently these judges were watching a fight that nobody else was. To Salido's credit, he knew this was likely to happen and was able to prevent the judges from robbing him of a hard earned victory. Juanma was convinced he was ready to carry on, but the ref stopped it prematurely. Outside of Juanma's camp, this decision, despite the gambling allegations, seems to be disputed by nobody.
Like a spoiled child, Juan Manuel Lopez refuses to look inward when assessing the problems in his game. Instead, it is always someone else's fault. So while his star is rapidly crashing, he wants to blame referees for his downfall. Perhaps he should instead look at his style which allows for him to take much more of a beating than his suspect chin can sustain. Nobody denies his talent, but it is his style, game planning, and whining that strongly suggest Juanma will never be the superstar in the future that he believes he is already.
Juanma was protected and built up for quite awhile. Bob Arum and company were grooming him to be on the level of the sport's biggest stars. Juanma played the part well, his arrogance easily on par with the greatest. However, his substance was a lot less than his style. When he ran into a rugged, but not great Salido, he was exposed. Though his career will continue, one can only hope he will humble himself and quit blaming others for his losses. You can't whine yourself to the top, but rather you must perform inside the ropes. A great way to resurrect his career would be a long awaited bout with Celestino Caballero. But ironically, at this point it doesn't appear Juanma is worthy of being in the ring with Caballero.