Lem Satterfield

Lopez issues public apology to referee, faces one-year ban by WBO


There were many similarities between Juan Manuel Lopez 10th-round TKO loss to Orlando Salido in their rematch on Saturday and their fight last April, which ended with Lopez being stopped in the eighth.

Salido-Lopez II was televised by Showtime and refereed by Roberto Ramirez Sr., whose son, Roberto Jr., officiated the first meeting.

Not only was the clash fought at a ferocious pace, but in addition, took place, yet again, in Lopez’s native Puerto Rico, this time, at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan, as opposed to the initial bout at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon.

Just like the first time around, Lopez had problems digesting the results. Only on Saturday, he was vocal to the point of leveling scandalous and controversial criticisms at Ramirez Sr. during his post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray. 

“I was dominating the fight. It was a tough fight, but I felt that I was dominating the fight. The referee stopped the fight. The other fight, his son stopped it. And now, he stopped it,” said Lopez (31-2, 28 knockouts) after failing to regain the WBO featherweight title he lost to Salido (38-11-2, 26 KOs).

“The referee stopped the fight because they have gambling problems. I told the commission that the referee was a gambler, and that the did it wrong by putting him in there. It’s very irresponsible to put him in as a referee when he has a gambling problem.”

As a result of his comments, Lopez has been suspended for one-year by the WBO and according to a report on BoxingScene.com which sources organization president Francisco Valcarcel.

Lopez “has five days to show us why we should rescind the suspension,” said Valcarcel.

On Sunday, however, Lopez came to his senses and issued a statement of public apology to the Ramirez’s.

“I want to apologize to Roberto for the comments I made after the fight against Salido. Roberto is one of the best referees in the world, he did a great job and I appreciate him for protecting me because I was definitely hurt,” said Lopez.

“Everyone knows how much I trained for this fight and all the sacrifices I made because I wanted to give a great victory to Puerto Rico. Maybe, in my frustration for failing my country, I said things that right now I don’t remember. And I want to delete. And again, I want to thank Roberto for his work.”

Salido had risen from a fifth-round knockdown to drop Lopez — who had floored Salido in the fifth of their first fight. Lopez rose on unsteady legs from the knockdown, and was deemed unfit to continue by Ramirez Sr., who waved an end to the fight.

“Also, I want to give the credit to Salido for his victory and thank to him for coming to my country to give me the rematch,” said Lopez.

“There was a great fight as all of the fans could watch and I want to thank all the fans for their support. I want the fans to know that I have some things to (accomplish) in boxing and I’ll be back soon.”



Photo / Peter Amador-Top Rank

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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