For every "Godfather: Part Two" or "Empire Strikes Back," you get a dozen crappy sequels that completely fail to recapture the magic of the original, even cheapening it. When Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez squared off for the second time last night (March 10, 2012) inside the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, everyone agreed that it would be one hell of a fight; however, some wondered whether it could possibly match their first effort.
Well, long story short, it did.
The two went at each other like wild animals, swinging with reckless abandon. Salido's pressure looked to be getting to Lopez, who was attempting to turn it into a technical match, but he found himself dropped hard by a powerful right hook at the very end of the fifth round.
Things then proceeded to get absolutely bonkers with both men digging deep and pummeling one another with everything they had. The ninth round in particular was one of the grittiest, most brutal, and most destructive rounds in recent memory, reminiscent of Micky Ward's epic clashes with Arturo Gatti.
Finally, Lopez's enormous heart ran dry in the tenth, as he was badly rocked with Salido's signature winging right. He proceeded to eat two enormous uppercuts, both of which looked like they would have killed a lesser man, before a final left put him on the canvas. Though he rose to his feet, he was obviously gone, and the referee called it, capping off an incredible fight.
Frankly, Salido and Lopez needed to put on something amazing to wash the taste of the first fight out of our mouths. And the pair did just that, with Salido retaining his WBO Featherweight title in the process.
In other action, unbeaten Mickey Garcia took on Filipino veteran Bernabe Concepcion with a potential crack at Salido on the line.
Somebody apparently forgot to tell them.
Both guys were incredibly tentative, not throwing much besides the jab. Concepcion, in particular, just could not pull the trigger, and was mercifully put away by a hard combination in the seventh round.
Luckily, the main event more than made up for it, and I for one feel honored to have seen these two fight their hearts out.
For round-by-round coverage of the rematch between Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manual Lopez last night on Showtime be sure to check out our complete event coverage right here.