Two-division former world champ, Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez was counting on a victory September 11 to win the WBA interim featherweight title and then move on to one more big payday before officially retiring.
Unfortunately for “JuanMa,” he couldn’t get past the hard-punching Argentine, Jesus Cuellar and wound up blitzed in two rounds by his younger, fresher, more aggressive opponent.
After that bout, Lopez’s return to Puerto Rico confirmed to him that boxing was no longer a viable career.
“I went to hospital, everything went well and I finally reached Puerto Rico on Friday,” Lopez told Puerto Rican boxing columnist Carlos Narvaez. “There I met with my children. On Sunday I was talking to ‘Juanmita’ (his youngest) and told him jokingly that I would prepare to fight within six months and he, who is my biggest fan, he said ‘I don’t want my dad to fight anymore.’ That got me, coming from my son who is super boxing fan. That was too big for me and it created a great weight on me. If I had any doubts [about what to do], my son took away those doubts.”
Lopez, who held world titles at both junior featherweight and featherweight, is only 31 years of age with nine years of professional career behind him, but carries around a body battered and aged before its time due to ring wars and, reportedly, a long history of yo-yoing weight between fights.