Mexico’s Orlando Salido retained his WBO featherweight title Saturday by handing Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico his second big defeat in under a year.
The 31-year-old Salido earned a technical knockout in the tenth round at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum to improve to 38-11-2 with 26 KOs, while Lopez fell to 31-2 with 28 KOs.
”I was analyzing him . . . he was already tired,” said Salido, who was warned several times for hitting below the belt. ”It is a great victory.”
Salido said he wanted to maintain constant pressure on Lopez, who knocked down Salido in the dying seconds of the fifth round with a forceful right.
Two of three judges had Lopez ahead on points when the fight ended.
”It was no doubt a difficult fight,” said Peter Rivera, vice president of PR Best Boxing Promotions. ”It could have ended for either fighter. Both were tired. We lost this fight, but it won’t be the end.”
Last April, Salido handed 28-year-old Lopez his first loss with another technical knockout in the eighth round.
Cheering the fighters were Puerto Rican boxing greats Felix ”Tito” Trinidad and Ivan Calderon along with Mexican greats Julio Cesar Chavez, Jorge Arce and Juan Manuel Marquez.
The judges included Puerto Rican Cesar Ramos, who replaced Raul Nieves, along with Michael Pernick and Dennis Nelson of the United States.
During Friday’s final weigh in, Salido tipped the scales at the maximum 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and Lopez came in at 125.75 pounds (57 kilograms).
Salido, who is known for his powerful right hand, previously won two other fights before Saturday’s rematch. He beat Filipino Weng Haya in an eighth-round TKO in a non title bout in December and obtained his first title defense against Japanese Kenichi Yamaguchi in an 11th-round TKO in July.
Lopez previously fought Mike Oliver (25-3, 8 KOs) in October, a non-title fight that he won in the second round.
Since June 2006, Lopez has won 16 of his last 18 fights by stoppage. The two other was the loss to Salido last year and a unanimous points win over Tanzanian Rogers Mtagwa in October 2009, when Lopez retained his WBO super bantamweight title for the fifth and final time before moving up to 126 pounds (57 kilograms).