BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO — Juan Manuel Lopez made a successful return to the ring last night by dominating a clearly overmatched Aldimar Silva. JuanMa is back in the winner’s circle, but is he ready to jump back in with the elite at featherweight?
A PATIENT JUANMA: Although Silva didn’t have any power to truly trouble him, Lopez was patient and didn’t exhibit much of the recklessness on defense that has become one of his trademarks. He worked behind the jab, ripped the body in close and didn’t get in too many wild exchanges. It would be Lopez’s southpaw right hook to the body and straight left that were the money punches that slowly wore down Silva in route to the KO.
MIKEY GARCIA OR WILFREDO VAZQUEZ JR?: Right now the talk is Lopez jumping right back in the lion’s den by either facing Garcia in another Mexico vs. Puerto Rico battle, or a domestic showdown with countrymen Wilfredo Vazquez. If I’m handling Lopez, I go with the Vazquez fight. Vazquez has some of the same vulnerabilities as Lopez defensively ensuring a potential Fight of the Year. Garica is too well-schooled and would give JuanMa his third knockout loss (and much quicker than what Salido accomplished).
THE COMEBACK NOBODY SAW: Over in the States, this card was broadcast on pay-per-view to the tune of $39.99. I’m not even sure Puerto Ricans here like JuanMa that much. This would have been a nice fight for the Showtime team to air (like they did JuanMa’s fights in PR with Salido), but sadly the current Top Rank-Showtime beef likely prevented this. For those of you who missed it, luckily the team at @SweetBoxing was able to get the below link together sans audio.