Southpaw former WBO featherweight titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez will return to the ring on Feb. 2 against Brazilian junior lightweight opponent Aldimar Silva Santos at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, site of his first of two knockout losses to Orlando Salido.
Lopez (31-2, 28 knockouts) will be back in action for the first time since March 10, when he was stopped in the 10th round by Salido in San Juan, a repeat of Salido’s eighth-round knockout victory in April of last year in Bayamon.
“Silva Santos will face JuanMa Lopez on Feb. 2. This will be a good return fight for JuanMa after his biggest absence from the ring,” said Peter Rivera, of PR Best Boxing Promotions, in a prepared release.
“We are going to see how JuanMa looks after almost 11 months without a fight. JuanMa is training hard because he wants to win a world championship again.”
Lopez will return from a suspension handed down by the Professional Boxing Commission of Puerto Rico because of disparaging comments he made about referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. following his second loss to Salido.
“I’ve been training since August and I am in very good condition,” said Lopez, 29, last month. “We will fight in another division now. I want to be world champion again and we are focused on our training.”
Silva Santos (18-3, 9 KOs), 31, was last in the ring for last month’s six-round unanimous decision victory over Rodolfo Franz, who came into the fight with a record of 1-14.
The victory over Franz helped Silva Santos to rebound from a second-round stoppage loss to junior featherweight Jesse Magdaleno in August.
Lopez will appear on a new edition of DIRECTV Night of Champions on pay per view, which will include lightweight Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez (21-0, 16 KOs), flyweight McWilliams Arroyo (13-1, 11 KOs), twin brother and junior bantamweight McJoe Arroyo (11-0, 6 KOs), and junior middleweight Jonathan Gonzalez (11-0, 10 KOs) — all against opponents to be determined.
IBF: CARL FROCH CAN FIGHT MIKKEL KESSLER BEFORE ADONIS STEVENSON
IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch would be permitted to take a rematch of three-time titlewinners against WBA interim beltholder Mikkel Kessler over a bout with hard-hitting, mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson if the proper paperwork is submitted and the right conditions are met, according to IBF public relations Public Relations Director Jeanette Salazar.
Froch (30-2-1, 22 knockouts) is coming off November’s third-round stoppage of Philadelphia’s Yusaf Mack before his hometown fans at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. In facing Mack, Froch returned to the venue where he dethroned previously unbeaten Lucian Bute by fifth-round knockout in May.
The win over Bute helped Froch to bounce back from a unanimous decision loss to Andre Ward in December of 2011 for the RING, WBA and WBC belts.
Kessler (46-2, 35 knockotus), of Denmark, scored his fifth straight win and his third consecutive stoppage victory in the third round in December over Ireland’s Brian Magee, against whom Kessler won the WBA’s 168-pound interim belt in Herning, Denmark.
Kessler, 33, returned to Herning for the first time since dethroning Froch as WBC beltholder by unanimous decision in a bloody battle that was part of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic in April of 2010.
Stevenson (19-1, 16 KOs) was last in the ring for October’s 12th-round knockout of Donovan George, whom he dropped five times.
“Because it’s a unification bout, it takes precedence over a mandatory, so it would be allowed,” said Salazar. “I know that [IBF Championships Chairman] Lindsay Tucker has received the request, but he still has not received all of the information int terms of all of the specifics about the fight.”
Kessler-Froch II is being considered for Froch’s native England, could offer $2 million for each fighter, and is close to fruition for April, May or June.
“Information concerning the site and the actual date were still needed,” said Salzar. “Once all of the information is put forward, certain conditions would be set regarding the mandatory, but it would be allowed because it is a unification.”
Kessler’s triumph over Froch, 35, helped him to rebound from losing his WBA belt by a one-sided, 11-round technical-decision loss to Ward in the first round of the Super Six in November of 2009.
Ward’s victory ended a streak of three straight stoppage wins by Kessler, whose previous setback had been at the hands of southpaw Joe Calzaghe by unanimous decision in November of 2007.
In August of 2010, Kessler had to pull out of the Super Six with an eye injury, canceling a September bout with Alan Green.
Froch won the WBC’s vacant belt by decisioning Jean Pascal in December of 2008, lost it to Kessler, and regained it by dominating ex-middleweight beltholder Arthur Abraham in November of the same year.
Froch faced Bute in Nottingham for the first time since October of 2009, when he split-decisioned Andre Dirrell in the first round of the Super Six tournament, during which he also routed ex-beltholder Glen Johnson by unanimous decision in June of last year before losing in to Ward.
Froch’s 12th-round stoppage of former undisputed middleweight titleholder Jermain Taylor in April of 2009, one bout before facing Dirrell, was the first defense of the crown he won from Pascal.
Froch also owns an 11th-round knockout victory over Magee from May of 2006, while Kessler has fought only five times outside his home country, including the losses to Calzaghe and Ward, and is 43-0 when fighting in Denmark.
SAMPSON LEWKOWICZ WINS TWO IBF PURSE BIDS
Salazar also confirmed reports that Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing won two purse bids on Wednesday.
Lewkowicz won the right to promote both the junior featherweight bout between Mexico’s Alejandro Lopez (24-2, 7 KOs) and Colombia’s Jhonatan Romero (22-0, 12 KOs) for the vacant belt, and that between Filipino junior flyweight beltholder Johnriel Casimero (17-2, 10 KOs) and Luis Alberto Rios (18-1-1, 13 KOs), of Panama.
Lewkowicz out-bid Gary Shaw, $132, 000-to-$122, 000, for Lopez-Romero, and, Promociones y Eventos Del Istmo, $132, 000-to- $95,000 for Casimero-Rios.
BILLY DIB ORDERED TO FIGHT LUIS FRANCO
Salazar said that the camps of Australian IBF featherweight beltholder Billy Dib (35-1, 21 KOs) and Cuba’s Luis Franco (11-1, 7 KOs), of Miami, have has been ordered to begin negotiations for a clash.
Rapper 50 Cent (aka, Curtis Jackson) handles Dib, who must reach an agreement to face Franco by Jan. 14 to prevent the ordering of a purse bid, according to Salazar.
GABRIEL ROSADO WANTS TO FIGHT GENNADY GOLOVKIN AT 160 POUNDS
WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (third from left) with his training camp crew at The Summit facility in Big Bear Lake, Calif.
Philadelphia-based junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs) will pursue his eighth straight win and his sixth stoppage victory during that run on Jan. 19 at Madison Square Garden against Kazakhstan-born WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOs), who will be after his 12th consecutive stoppage victory.
Although the bout was originally slated to be contested at a catchweight of 158 pounds by Rosado’s promoter, Russell Peltz, the fighter has confirmed an earlier report by RingTV.com that the match up will indeed take place at the division limit of 160.
“The first I heard about the catch weight was at the media lunch on Dec. 1. I never asked for it. That was my advisor Russell Peltz’s idea. I’m happy Russell is looking out for my best interests, but we’re fighting at 160,” said Rosado, in a prepared statement.
“Golovkin is the champion, and out of respect to him and toward the sport of boxing, we will fight at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds. When I beat him, I don’t want any excuses about the extra two pounds he had to lose. I will beat him at his best, fair and square. The old-timers didn’t need any catch weights. They were real men. Middleweight champions fight at 160, and that’s what I want.”
Promoted by Top Rank as well as the K2 and Russell Peltz promotional companies, Golovkin-Rosado is part of an HBO-televised tripleheader whose main event features unbeaten featherweight contender Mikey Garcia and Salido.
MARTINEZ GUNNING FOR BURGOS
Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KOs) is training in Puerto Rico in pursuit of his third straight victory opposite Burgos (30-1, 20 KOs), himself, a winner of five consecutive fights.
LUCAS MATTHYSSE TO FACE MIKE DALLS JR. ON JAN. 26
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has confirmed reports that Philadelphia’s Henry Lundy (22-2-1, 11 KOs) has been replaced by Mike Dallas Jr. (19-2-1), of Bakersfield, Calif., as opponent for THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse (32-2, 30 KOs), of Argentina, on Jan. 26 as part of a Showtime-televised triple-header that will also feature once-beaten welterweight Selcuk Aydin against Jesus Soto Karass from The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“Hank Lundy has promoter issues,” said Schaefer. “So we moved on and finalized Mike Dallas.”
ROBERT ACEVEDO FIGHTS FRANCISO RIOS ON FRIDAY
Puerto Rican super middleweight Roberto Acevedo (6-0, 3 KOs) will take on Mexican veteran Francisco Rios (17-17, 12 KOs), who is a late replacement for Marquis Davis (6-0-2, 4 KOs), of Tampa, in a six-rounder.
“Roberto is an ex-Olympic team member who had his dream of becoming an Olympic medalist crushed by an unscrupulous person back in 2006. When Roberto was on his way to the pre-Olympics games in Brazil, Roberto got shot three times in a drive by in Puerto Rico,” said Acevedo’s older brother, Jose Acevedo.
“He was told by the doctors that he wouldn’t be able to fight again since he had lost 80 percent of the use of his left arm. After a few months, Roberto dedicated himself to train that much harder and harder until a year and two months later, he was crowned Puerto Rican national Champion once again and made the Olympic team once again.”
In 2008, however, Roberto Acevedo was hospitalized, yet again, this time, after being run over by a drunk driver just prior to the Beijing Olympics, according to his brother.
“I am excited and anxious to fight,” said Acevedo. “I am fighting a Mexican, and I am ready to bring the win back to Puerto Rico. I feel strong, and this is one of the best camps I have ever had.”
BARTHELEMY, USMANEE, GONZALEZ, ENNIS GEAR UP FOR THE SHOW
Barthelemy has promised to be “a different fighter than before,” adding, “I have trained very hard, and have gone to Big Bear, California, to spar. I am ready for the bell to ring.”
Usmanee responded that he is “ready to fight,” adding, “I hope he is ready to fight.”
Gonzalez-Ennis is shaping up as a classic puncher-versus-boxer duel.
“I am here to put on a good show for everyone,” said Ennis, who plans to out-box Gonzalez. “I am coming out to do my thing: hit and not get hit. I will see you at the fights, and do my talking in the ring.”
Gonzalez, meanwhile, said “I have been in camp for eight weeks,” adding, “I am ready to fight today, I am on weight today and I am ready to take out all my frustrations out on Ennis. He has no idea.”
BRANDON GONZALES RETURNS ON JAN. 11
Super middleweight Brandon Gonzales (16-0, 10 KOs), a 28-year-old from Sacramento, will face Don Mouton (12-4-1, 10 KOs), a 34-year-old from Houston, on Jan. 11 at the Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe, New Mexico on ESPN2.
Gonzales is being trained by Virgil Hunter, who also guides Ward. The bout is being promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with M and H Promotions.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Scott Heavey, Gettyimages
Photo by K2 Promotions
Photo by Peter Amador, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com