Sharkie's Machine: Juan Manuel Lopez Wins by TKO 9 over Olivier Lantchi
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (June 28, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
Congratulations to WBO Super Bantamweight titlist and rising star, Juan Manuel Lopez (26-0, 24 KO’s) who did it again Saturday night at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City N.J., scoring two knockdowns that led to a TKO win after nine rounds against formerly unbeaten, Olivier Lantchi (18-1, 8 KO’s).

Lantchi tried to box outside but Lopez cut off the ring and forced his will on the direction of the action. The first knockdown came in the second round, compliments of a Lopez’ right hand. After that, Lopez chased Lantchi
around the ring for another seven rounds, always pressuring Lantchi, while landing more punches and controlling the tempo.

Lantchi showed that he’s a scrappy fighter with respectable boxing skills but he was out-gunned by the stronger Lopez in every round. To his credit, Lantchi showed some good mobility and enough heart to last nine rounds against a man who has dynamite punching power and usually finishes opponents early. From the opening bell, Lopez attacked aggressively, forcing Lantchi to play defense. Lopez chased Lantchi around like a Pitt Bull chasing a Road Runner, until the ninth round, when Lopez landed a big left hook that dropped Lantchi, who barely survived the round. Lantchi didn’t come out for the 10th round and that was the end of that.

Why this fight was on Pay-Per-View escapes me.

It wasn’t a ‘terrible’ fight card but it wasn’t worth paying to see on TV. No doubt that Juan Manuel Lopez is exciting and in high demand but his promoter (Bob Arum) should know that at this stage, Lopez needs exposure more than top billing on PPV cards that usually offer less exciting fare than what you get on the under cards of Friday Night Fights. And how about the Promoter’s having the common sense to arrange the scheduling so their fights don’t overlap with other ‘prime time’ fights on a Saturday night? Last week there weren’t enough fights, this week there were too many that overlapped. A little common sense in programming would go a long way. Clearly what’s good for the fans is good for boxing.

Kudos to Showtime and HBO, who scheduled their fights perfectly. The Showtime, “Shobox” fight ended right before the HBO fight started. Saturday night was a wild ride for hardcore fight fanatics who paid to see the Juan Manual Lopez fight but had no idea what time it would start and got caught up in the Showtime and HBO fights. Thank God for VHS! The PPV fights were actually scheduled to overlap both fight cards on Showtime and HBO.

Showtime aired Arthur Abraham (29-0, 23 KO’s) winning a TKO over Mahir Oral (25-1-2, 10 KO’s). That took place in Germany . When that was over, it was time for HBO’s presentation of the most exciting fight of the night; a war between highly touted Super Lightweight prospect, Victor Ortiz (24-2-1, 19 KO’s) taking on Marcos Maidana (26-1, 25 KO’s) for the WBA Interim title. This was a wild one, with both men scoring knockdowns in the first round. Then Ortiz scored two knockdowns in the second round. Maidana landed the better shots in round three and both did about as good as the other in round four. Maidana landed a big left hook that caused a nasty cut over Ortiz’ right eye then landed a pair of rights, one that nearly closed Ortiz’ left eye.

Ortiz’ corner threatened to stop the fight if he didn’t do better in the next round. In the sixth round, Maidana smelled blood and went after Ortiz, blasting him to the body with a shot that saw Ortiz go down. The ringside doc took a look at Ortiz’ cut and suddenly, it was over.

Maidana had won by TKO in six after it appeared that Ortiz didn’t want to continue. During the post fight interview, Ortiz admitted that the ‘better man that night won the fight.’ He was humble and congratulatory towards Maidana. He mentioned something about having to, “think about taking this kind of punishment.” Hey, Boxing is a dangerous sport.

And while all that was happening, you had Jorge Arce (52-5-1, 40 KO’s) scoring a KO in three over Fernando Lumacad (18-2-2, 7 KO’s) on PPV.

Earlier on the PPV card, Yuri Foreman (27-0-1 NC, 8 KO’s) suffered a cut over his right eye that saw his match with Cornelius Bundrage (29-4, 1 NC, 17 KO’s) end in a No Contest after three rounds.

Getting back to Juan Manual Lopez (26-0, 24 KO’s), he is clearly a championship caliber fighter and ready to face the best fighters in his class. I want to see him fight the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez (38-5, 34 KO’s), Celestino Caballero (32-2, 22 KO’s) and Israel Vazquez (43-4, 31 KO’s). Vazquez recently moved up to 126 pounds, where Lopez would easy fit into without losing a step.

If Lopez were to fight any of those three, we’re looking at ‘fight of the year’ caliber action. Those guys are not just the best in their class; they are, in my estimate, the best “pound for pound” fighters in boxing. And not because of marketing schemes to sell PPV events, where a guy in his prime fights a fading, big name fighter. These guys are the best because they fight great fighters that are in their prime. Each of those men possesses top notch skills and particular assets that present problems for anyone. There should be some criteria for what goes on Pay-Per-View. How about Title Unification bouts? Maybe that would encourage the Promoters to do what’s right and let boxing be a sport with defined Champions instead of a bunch of titlists that rarely fight each other.

Comments, Questions, can be emailed to

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2009