With no major mixed martial arts (MMA) action on the docket, we turn our attention to professional boxing's squared circle to fill our combat sports void.
After a fantastic, back-and-forth fight that produced one of 2011's most stunning upsets, Puerto Rican superstar Juan Manuel Lopez and Mexican slugger Orlando Salido will square off once again with the WBO featherweight title on the line later tonight (March 10, 2012) from the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In addition, unbeaten knockout artist Mikey Garcia will take on Filipino veteran Bernabe Concepcion to determine the next contender for the 126-pound belt.
MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of the event, starting with the Showtime broadcast at 10 p.m. ET this evening.
Check out complete Juan Manuel Lopez vs Orlando Salido 2 quick results and LIVE play-by-play after the jump:
Featherweight Championship: Orlando Salido (c) def. Juan Manuel Lopez by TKO at 0:32 of Round Ten
Featherweight.: Mikey Garcia vs. Bernabe Concepcion by TKO at 2:33 of Round Seven
WBO Featherweight Championship: Orlando Salido (c) vs. Juan Manuel Lopez
Round One: Let's do dis. Feeling-out process early on; Salido wings a hafhearted overhand right. Good combo from Juanma. Nice right hand from Juanma as they clinch. Hard left hook from Salido. Salido misses with the big overhand right. Fairly slow round; digging right to the body from Salido. Not much action, but Salido looked to be pulling ahead late. 10-9 for the Mexican.
Round Two: Lots of feints from both men. Salido wings away at Lopez and seems to land well. Salido starting to walk him down and lands well. Juanma eats a BIG right hand and wobbles for a bit, but he's alright. Salido just dropping his head and wading in with punches to the head and body. Nice one-two and hook combo from Lopez. Nice shots from Salido on the inside. Salido skillfully slips a flurry from Lopez but doesn't capitalize. NICE left hook from Salido. Nice flurry at the end for Lopez, but a pretty clear Salido round. 20-18; we've finally got ourselves a fight.
Round Three: Good three-punch combo from Juanma, who avoids a heavy onslaught from Salido. Ripping body shots from Salido, who ignores some Lopez counter headshots. Nice body blow from Lopez, who gets knocked back by a straight right. Salido just bombing away. Good right from Salido. Left hand Salido. Thudding shot to the body from Orlando. Brutal flurry from Salido high and low. Juanma starting to fire back but he does not look comfortable in there. Another solid round for the champ, 30-27.
Round Four: Good right from Salido, who is on the attack right away. Juanma trying to box, but this is not his style and it's not working. Hard right hand from Orlando on the ropes. Juanma gets Salido's back to the ropes but doesn't connect. He really looks lost in there as he gets whacked with a left hand. Decent body blow from Juanma, followed by a left up top and a right hook. Juanma looks like he may actually be fighting now as Salido walks him down. Much closer round, but still Salido's in my book. 40-36 same.
Round Five: Jabs from Juanma in the early going, then a hard one-two. Salido a bit more tentative this round. Big counter right from Salido off a one-two. Nice lead right from Salido. Juanma looks like he's right back in his shell, but does deign to exchange as they get into the clinch. Nice flurry from Lopez, Salido responds with digging body blows. Juanma JACKED by a left hook but stands firm. Salido on the attack but gets caught by a short right at the round's end and dropped. Salido back up and we've got a damn fight on our hands, folks. 48-46 Salido.
Round Six: Heavy exchange inside; Salido completely ignoring the knockdown and going at it. Body blow by Salido, solid right to the head from Lopez. Salido on the hunt, Lopez keeping him at range with some success. Winging overhand right from Salido connects and another and a left hook! What a chin on Lopez. ANOTHER big left and right from Salido. Bombs from both at the end. Fantastic fight. 58-55 Salido.
Round Seven: Orlando Salido still on the attack. Salido with big punches on the ropes. NICE left hook from Salido. Juanma just cannot keep his back off the ropes and he's trying to shoulder roll his way out with no success. More big lefts from Salido. Good lord this is absurd. Winging bombs from Salido and a straight right. Lopez can't win by boxing here; he's just getting bullied around the ring. Nice little flurry from Juanma at the end but nothing lands. Salido fires back and connects well. Wow. 68-64 Salido
Round Eight: Hard left hooks low and high from Salido. BIG right straight from Salido. Lopez firing back but can't keep Salido off of him. Salido just battering the game Lopez; Salido's eating punches but nothing is happening. Bombs on both sides with Salido against the ropes. Sneaky uppercut on the break from Lopez. Left straight from Lopez. Right and left hooks from Salido with his back in the corner. Salido connecting with heavy artillery. Lopez refuses to go away and he's landing blows of his own. Both men eat big lefts. Bombs in the clinch. Great, great round; closer, but Salido gets the nod. 78-73 Salido.
Round Nine: Both men bombing away. Nice overhand right from Salido. Nice bombs from both men. This is trench warfare, ladies and gentlemen. Absolute bombs from both men, with Salido probably getting the better. Salido now getting backed up as Lopez digs to the body. Lopez on the attack now and he's getting to Salido, but Salido is smashing Lopez's jaw as he gets close. Crushing body blows from both men. Holy Christ, how are they standing. MONSTROUS left and rights from Salido. Round of the year, one for Juanma. 87-84 Salido.
Round Ten: Salido looks like a mess, but this is his kind of fight. Both men tired. JUANMA NAILED WITH A RIGHT! HE WOBBLES AND GETS DROPPED! LOPEZ GETS BACK TO HIS FEET BUT HE'S WOBBLY AND THEY CALL IT! ORLANDO SALIDO WINS THE FIGHT OF THE YEAR IN DRAMATIC FASHION.
I CAN'T STOP TYPING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. THAT WAS AWESOME.
Final Result: Salido def. Lopez by TKO
WBO Featherweight Eliminator: Mikey Garcia vs. Bernabe Concepcion
Round One: Concepcion rocking white robes with flames on the edge, reminiscent of Gomi. I now know who I'm rooting for.
Both fighters tentative in the early going. Stiff jab from Bernabe is the first landed blow. Garcia responds in kind. Anther nice jab from Garcia. Again; nice snap to that one. Both men still pawing with their jabs; it looks like Garcia's is slightly the better. Bernabe throws the first right hand, which doesn't land. Garcia tries to respond in kind, but no success. Nice counter jab from Garcia. Both men try left hooks at the end, but no luck. Slight advantage to Garcia, but not enough. 10-10.
Round Two: Again, tentative pawing. Short left hook from Garcia seems to connect. Concepcion moves forward with straight shots, but does not connect. Garcia starting to establish his jab and occasionally put the right behind it. Solid punch finally lands, a right hand from Garcia. Stiff jab catches him as he moves in. Another solid jab from Garcia. Slightly more active round and a bit more clearly in Garcia's favor. 20-19 same.
Round Three: Concepcion now trying to get his jab in play, but nothing landing solid lands. One-twos from Garcia blocked, Concepcion with a glancing left to the body. Better one-two from Garcia. Neither man throwing more than two at a time. Bernabe much more active this round, but still not very. Good jab from Concepcion, who barely misses with a big right. Solid right hand from Garcia, probably the best punch of the round. Nice double jab from Garcia. Bernabe was the more active of the round, but this is still turning into a stinker. 29-29.
Round Four: Left hook from Bernabe lands. Jab from Bernabe. Better jab from Garcia, then a pair of one-twos. Stiff jab from Garcia, and Bernabe lands his first good punch of the night over the top of a jab. Nice left from Bernabe and a right. Good counter left hook from Garcia at the bell after Concepcion tries to rush in. Just not enough from Garcia for me to give him the round. 39-38 Concepcion.
Round Five: If you would allow me a slight breach of professionalism, this fight sucks, Beavis.
Anyway, Garcia lands a rocket of a jab. Another. Another. Bloody hell, somebody throw a different punch. Thank you, Garcia; he throws a four-punch combo but doesn't connect. Right from Garcia lands and he's got Concepcion backing up. More stiff jabs from Garcia. Well, we got about twenty seconds of quality boxing out of that round. 48-48.
Round Six: Jab from Concepcion lands. Good counter combo from Garcia. Another good flurry. Garcia now has Concepcion against the ropes and is throwing everything; seems like he's as tired of this BS as we are. BIG right hand from Garcia seems to wobble Concepcion, who just has nothing. I'm not sure why I gave him those rounds earlier. Another stiff right hand from Garcia. Poor right to the body from Bernabe. Another agonizing round in the books. 58-57 Garcia and it should probably be wider.
Round Seven: Concepcion explodes out of nowhere and lands some good punches on Garcia, but can't capitalize. Garcia goes right back to walking him down. More one-twos from Garcia and we get a merciful lull when some tape comes loose on Concepcion's glove. Right to the body from Concepcion, who gets absolutely blasted with a one-two in retaliation and finally goes down. He's back up and Garcia on the attack. Garcia ramps up the intensity and the ref steps in to safe Concepcion and the audience. Ugh.
Final Result: Garcia def. Concepcion by TKO