By Allan Cerf
Particulars: Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., October 8 LIVE on Fight Network
The Story: This all Puerto-Rican battle is probably, sans those living on the boxing-crazy island...for boxing junkies only. And there’s only one outcome we ghouls, we hard-core adherents to the world’s hardest sport can hope for - a big KO. Whether either fighter - both legitimately despise one another - can deliver, is the question. Vasquez, whose father, the famed ’Sr.’ Wilfredo, has the lineage but also 6 loses while losing his last 2 of 3. Lopez, seemingly gone from the sport having suffered 5 KO defeats in his career (out of 5) returns he says, for blood and money. Well, he also missed the sport, he adds. Lopez is regarded as having tremendous power which is a bit overstated, but heavy-handed he certainly is.
Vasquez concedes that Lopez has more talent but says sacrifice will carry the day. Vasquez last lost 3 of his past 4 fights, all by decision. Vasquez once fought Jorge Arce in a tremendously exciting Fight of the Year, though he lost when his dad, Sr., sensibly threw in the towel when it appeared Joe Cortez - not a great Ref since the 90’s, was letting his son catch a huge amount of unanswered head shots.
Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Stamina, Age, Experience)
Juan Manuel Lopez (Average of all) C+
Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. (Average of all) C+
Reality Check: On paper this is a so-so bout - something to do if you’re not channel surfing, out with the other half, or as mentioned, simply love boxing. All Puerto Rican affairs however, particularly with 2 combatants who seem to really dislike one another, can easily morph into must-see TV that could blow the hell out of just about anything else you’re doing. It’s hard to countenance a highly boring technical decision.
One thing of note - besides the fact that Lopez seems to have far more than a reported 69" reach, is that both fighters are arm-punchers that like to keep their opponent at the... VERY... end of their punches. Of course, purists say this is an absolute no-no with exceptions frequently allotted to heavyweights- Muhammad Ali (for speed) Vitali Klitschko (for power and countless others) In fact, arm-punching is a truism that needs testing.
The BBC once measured, for example, Ricky Hatton’s Sunday punch, the left hook, the epitome of shoulder-punching, versus his right. To everyone’s surprise, the right packed more power per square inch. Here’s hoping both arm punchers do it their way and blaze away until one man falls. As Doug Fischer of “The Ring” once said (paraphrased), "Some folks, like me, just want to see a fistfight." Let’s hope a heavy-handed one erupts.
Prediction: Jeez! Okay, okay...I’ll go with Lopez by 11th round TKO, though his spate of losses leads the reasonable to bet the other way, for sure!