Monday, April 15, 2024  |


Juan Manuel Lopez: ‘Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. is afraid of my power’

Photo credit: Joel Colon
Fighters Network

Much is made of the Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry; however, sometimes when two fighters are from the same country, the shared enmity is even more intense and deep-rooted. That was the case with future Hall-of-Famers Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera in Mexico. Now in Puerto Rico, admittedly at a lower level, finally, after several years, Juan Manuel Lopez and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. have decided to meet to put an end to their feud, in a 129-pound catchweight bout.

The two were originally scheduled to meet on Oct. 8, however, a tropical storm caused a power outage on the Caribbean island for a number of days, forcing a delay of three weeks.

The promotion dubbed “Guerra En El Clemente” will take place at the iconic Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning at 9:00 p.m.ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT, distributed on Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View for $29.95.

Lopez, 33, decided to return to the ring for one key reason.

“It was a good business deal,” Lopez told through Gabriel Penagaricano. “I have not fought in two years but I have been active in the gym. Plus this is a special fight for the fans and one I truly want to, once and for all, shut Vazquez’s big mouth.

“We’ve been trying to do this for a while. The rivalry was created naturally. Plus I said some things and he said others…It escalated quickly…Now (it) is personal and I need to settle this once and for all.”

Having fought several Mexicans during his career, Lopez (34-5, 31 knockouts) feels national pride and local bragging rights are worth more than getting one over an old enemy.

“Yes, no question,” “JuanMa” said without pause. “A rivalry is a rivalry and this is a big one. His trash-talking has motivated me for this fight. He is afraid of my power and you will see that very early in the fight.”

Despite the clear conflict between the pair, Lopez recognizes the need for calm and appreciates the danger this fight poses him.

“Vazquez is an intelligent fighter that I cannot underestimate,” he explained. “I am preparing for a big win by KO or decision.

“The fact that there is such a story line between us makes a great fight for the fans and that is what I will give them.”

During his prime, Lopez would have been considered the more talented fighter. He won world titles at 122 and 126 pounds. However, later in his career, JuanMa faded badly. It seemed like we’d seen the last of the heavy-handed Caguas resident inside a ring after his most recent bout – a second round KO loss to Jesus Andres Cuellar in Sept. 2014 – but, in boxing, nothing is forever and, when he was presented with the opportunity, he decided to return.

At this stage, Lopez, is unsure if this is merely a one off or the beginning of a comeback.

“We’ll see,” he said. “If everything goes well, I probably will be making another run for a world title. But (I’ll) only (take) fights that make sense.”



Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at



Struggling to locate a copy of RING magazine? Try here or…


Ring Magazine Dec 2016

You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: Double Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. The U.K. Issue featuring cover star Carl Frampton will be available soon.