Vargas Retires Juanma on His Stool
JuanMa promised an action packed fight. He delivered, but he was too tough for his own good.
Didn’t Answer the Bell
Juan Manuel Lopez could not answer the bell to start round four, forcing referee Vic Drakulich to stop the bout “upon advice and suggestion of the corner.”
Lopez started the bout fighting like Juanma, throwing caution in the air and going toe to toe with the 29 year old former Mexican Olympian. But Francisco “Bandido” Vargas was too strong and too good for the former two division champion.
He took Juanma’s power shots and landed his own bombs in three blistering rounds that had the crowd of 14,329 on their feet. Finally, Vargas hurt Lopez in the third round wobbling him throughout the round and sending him to the canvass as the round was about to end. Lopez beat the count and managed to get back to his feet, but it was obvious that he had taken a beating for at least the third round and was too hurt to continue.
Seeking Title Shot
Lopez was enamored by countryman Miguel Cotto, whose recent victory over Argentine Sergio Martinez gave him a title in a fourth weight class. Lopez said the prospect of fighting for a junior lightweight title attracted him to make a comeback after being beaten twice by Orlando Salido in 2011 and punished by Mikey Garcia last year. Lopez had beaten rival Juan Ponce De Leon last March via knockout to revive his career. Ponce De Leon retired last month after losing his last bout. Lopez may soon follow him.
Biggest Win Ever
On the other hand, the victory was the biggest in Vargas’ career. He has an undefeated record but has not fought a name as big as Lopez. He was coming off two big unanimous decision victories over Jerry Belmontes last December 2013 and Abner Cotto this past March. The victory over Lopez should put him in any conversation for a world title. Vargas’ record is now 20-0-1 with 14 KOs.
The bout looked 50-50 on paper because Lopez was coming off an impressive knockout win over Ponce De Leon last March and Vargas had not been tested by a high quality opponent. But while Lopez has the heart of a warrior, he doesn’t have the skill of a boxer. Lopez bulldozed his way to fame and fortune with 31 knockouts in his 34 victories. But his lack of defense and technique has surfaced in the latter part of his career when he began to fight younger and more skilled opponents. All of his losses have been by knockout to Mexican warriors. The loss was his fourth in his last eight bouts. JuanMa’s record dropped to 34-4 with 31 KOs.
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