By Chris Williams: Former two division world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (31-2, 28 KO’s) could be fighting WBO International featherweight champion Rey Bautista (34-2, 25 KO’s) in December, according to Philboxing.com. Lopez, 29, hasn’t fought since being stopped by WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido in a 10th round TKO loss March in Puerto Rico.
Lopez subsequently received a year suspension for making comments about the referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. after the fight. However, Lopez’s suspension will be reduced so that he can return to the ring in December and the World Boxing Organization has already agreed to give Lopez a ranking.
This should be a nice tune-up fight for Lopez. Bautista, 26, isn’t much of a threat to Lopez and will likely fold in one or two rounds if Lopez puts any kind of pressure on him the way that Daniel Ponce De Leon did in destroying Bautista in one round five years ago in 2007.
Bautista has since been beaten by Heriberto Ruiz in 2008. Since then, Bautista has been matched carefully against mostly mediocre opponent that has allowed him to win his last eight fights and pick up the WBO International featherweight title. He’s pretty much the same fighter that was blown out by De Leon and decisioned by Ruiz. The only thing that’s changed as far as I can tell is that his opposition has gotten a lot weaker.
Bautista will be there to get knocked out by Lopez if he puts the slightest bit of pressure on him early on to take him out.
Lopez has to get busy with his career and keep his weight under control in between fights. He should stay away from Salido at all costs because this guy clearly has his number and there’s nothing to gain in fighting him again. Instead, Lopez needs to target IBF champion Billy Dib or WBA champion Chris John. Those guys are definitely beatable for Lopez as long as he’s fighting smart and keeping his weight under control.