Manuel Avila and Abraham Lopez to return on Saturday
On the heels of their first defeats, featherweights Manuel “Tino” Avila and Abraham “El Chamaco” Lopez return to the ring this Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California, looking to put the past behind them, with a new perspective going forward.
Their comeback fights will be on the non-televised undercard of the Jorge Linares vs. Luke Campbell HBO main event but will be available to watch live with RingTV.com’s new Ringside Ticket subscription package. Both men gave their thoughts to RingTV at a media workout Wednesday afternoon, at the City of Angels Boxing Gym in downtown L.A.
“I got the exposure that I wasn’t really expecting,” said Avila on whether there was any silver lining from his loss to Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. last May. “People aren’t counting me out or making me seem like a nobody that came in. I guess the 15 minutes of fame put me on the map.”
Avila (22-1, 8 knockouts) was blanked in a unanimous decision loss to Diaz but the 25-year-old from Fairfield, California, admitted he wasn’t at his best that night on the HBO Pay-Per-View undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
“The only reason he was able to take advantage and was able to come out victorious was more than one thing happening to me,” Avila said. “I injured my back, so I was no longer running for my training camp. A month before my camp, I got cut over my eye, so I was no longer sparring, and then, the day of my fight, I get food poisoning. So everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Surprisingly, it was the first time I didn’t injure my hands but everything else went wrong.”
That said, Avila still wasn’t all that impressed with Diaz, saying, “I was expecting him to be a more aggressive fighter and a more dominant fighter. I was maybe 40 percent and he couldn’t really hurt me or wobble me. If it was me and I was fighting somebody at 40 percent and I didn’t knock him out, I would feel horrible.”
Adding to his bad night, Avila’s cut in sparring leading up to the fight reopened in its midst, and it made him wait longer than he wanted for his return.
“This time it was only 10,” Avila said about the amount of stitches his cut on the left brow needed. Not as bad as the first time it was cut awhile back, when it reached the bone, and needed 16 stitches on the outside and six inside. “As soon as they cleared my cut, I wanted to be back in the ring. Even now, I didn’t get too much sparring – they wanted to baby my eye because that was the third time I’ve been cut on the same eye.”
Looking to move forward with a rematch with Diaz in mind for one day, Avila will face Ramiro Robles (14-6-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday, and feels much better going into this bout.
“I kind of went back to my old way – I didn’t look up any footage of him. I had my corner do that and they told me he’s wide, square and a lefty. I just work off of that,” said Avila about his preparation for this fight. “No injuries, no problems, no back injuries – well, not like last time,” he added, referring to the lower back as a small, lingering issue.
“A loss is a loss. It’s not like it’s the end of the world,” reassured Avila, and pointed out that, in his road back to contention for a bigger fight, a future opponent was in the same room.
“I have a feeling they’re setting both of us up,” said Avila about Lopez. “We both are coming off a loss going into this weekend and fighting on the same card. They said, for me, they want me to have some non-TV fights for awhile and then put me back on TV. I have a feeling they’re doing the same thing for him. It would be a battle to prove our points.”
Lopez (22-1-1, 15 KOs), who is also signed to Golden Boy Promotions, had a more brutal affair in his stoppage defeat to Jesus Rojas the night before Avila lost in Las Vegas. According to the 29 year old from La Puente, California, the bad day started early in the morning.
“That was just a bad morning to start with. Someone sent me breakfast at six in the morning,” said Lopez. “It woke me up and made me pissed.”
It’s unknown as to who gave this unexpected wake-up call but Lopez suspects it may have been someone in the Rojas team, seeing as how they checked into the fight hotel together.
“The way it felt in that ring – it was like I partied all night and decided to go to work the next day. Mentally, I wasn’t there. It happened and we learned,” he said. “No excuses; he got the victory. He’s an interim champion now, so I would like a rematch.”
To put it simply, Lopez was beaten up by Rojas and after suffering three voluntary knockdowns, the fight was stopped in the eighth round by referee Tony Weeks.
“The reason I was taking knees is because there were punches behind the ear and I saw stars,” admitted Lopez. “I depend on my brain out of this sport. I took a knee on the second, fourth and eighth round.”
Isao Carranza (15-9-1, 9 KOs) is Lopez’s opponent this Saturday, and last May’s defeat turned out to be a wake-up call, despite the one earlier that morning that he felt hindered his performance.
“It made me think that people don’t want the nice Abraham. People don’t want that suit-and-tie Abraham. I’m educated but nobody cares – I gotta be this bad boy or this bad guy. So that fight made me realize that I want (Rojas) and I want all the champions and let’s do it. I’m training harder for this fight. I have a statement to make this Saturday, so that’s what I’m working on. I know this guy is a tough fighter – every Mexican fighter is a tough fighter – they give it their all in the ring. We’re ready for the comeback.”
As for a possible bout with Avila, Lopez didn’t seem to have it in mind but given the attitude he revealed in closing, he’d certainly be ready to take him on.
“We’ll see. If that’s what they want. Right now, I’m fighting at 127-to-128 and I’ve been struggling, so I might have to be moving up – I don’t know. We’ll see what happens and see how I feel after the fight. He’s a great fighter – talented fighter. I’ve studied my opponents better than anybody. I’m hungry right now – I want it, and whatever it takes is the plan right now. I’m a man with bad intentions now. Right now, I’m not the nicest person.”
You can reach Michael Baca II at [email protected] and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2
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