Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



Juan Manuel Lopez stops Vazquez then fights opponent’s corner

Fighters Network

With nothing more than bragging rights on the line, Juan Manuel Lopez overcame a sluggish start to grind out an 11th-round knockout win over fellow Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in San Juan on Saturday.

But it was what happened after the fight ended that had the boxing world abuzz.

The fighters weighed just below the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds, far removed from the junior featherweight division where they had the most success of their careers.

Lopez was returning from a two-year layoff after a series of tough losses while Vazquez had also suffered in recent bouts.

Prior to the Vazquez fight, Lopez had lost three of four bouts, all by knockout. Even in his win over Daniel Ponce De Leon, in March 2014, Lopez had tasted the canvas before winning by knockout.

Vazquez also entered the fight having lost three of his last four, two by split decision.

It was all Vazquez from the opening round as he was the busier and more aggressive fighter. It took the southpaw Lopez a while to get going, but he was able to get back in the fight in Round 5, when he stunned Vazquez with a right hand to the head.

As the bout progressed, Lopez became more assertive and threw more punches, putting Vazquez more on the defensive. Vazquez began to slow down as the impact of Lopez’s heavier punches seemed to take their toll.

With less than a minute left in Round 11, Lopez stunned Vazquez with a left hand to the head. Lopez followed up, landing a barrage of punches, ultimately dropping Vazquez against the ropes.

The fight was immediately waved at 2:29, but the fighting did not stop.

The bad blood from Friday’s weigh-in seemed to spill over as Lopez went at one of Vazquez’s cornermen with a left hook. The two traded punches for several moments before they were separated and cooler heads prevailed.

At the time of the stoppage, Lopez was up on two judges’ scorecards, 96-94. The third judge, along with RingTV, had the fight scored 95-95. Lopez’s record improved to 35-5 (32 knockouts), while Vazquez dropped to 24-7-1 (19 KOs).

“I had to be patient,” said Lopez after the fight. “I felt by the eighth round I could eventually get the knockout.”

After the fight, Vazquez announced his retirement.

“There’s no excuses. It was a great fight. I’ve respected (Lopez) and I respect him even more (after the fight.

“I have to accept the reality. This was my last fight.”

As for Lopez, he stated he would sit down with his promoter and talk about future fights, even eyeing possible showdowns against Abner Mares and Orlando Salido, who stopped Lopez twice earlier this decade.

Also on the card, junior welterweight Yomar Alamo (12-0, 9 KOs) earned a first-round knockout win when Edwin Lopez (27-7-1, 24 KOs) did not come out for the second round due to an alleged hand injury.

Junior lightweight Jonathan Oquendo (26-5, 16 KOs) was scheduled to fight on Saturday’s card against Gustavo Molina (23-13, 9 KOs), but the fight fell through.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper,, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.