Former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (36-6-1) is the latest boxer accused of domestic violence. An ex-girlfriend of the former pugilist, Andrea Ojeda, released a live video early Tuesday afternoon alleging that she suffered emotional, mental and physical abuse at the hands of Lopez.
Lopez, a 38-year-old native of Puerto Rico, last fought as a professional on May 18th, 2019. Ojeda, the host of a YouTube channel, “El Show De La Peki,” has over 7000 subscribers, and she has over 90,000 followers on Instagram.
Ojeda explained her reason for putting out the video:
“If I pride myself on helping women, I first need to be able to help myself.” She said that she has stayed quiet for too long and wanted to clear up rumors about the real reason she broke up with Lopez. “I identify Juan Manuel Lopez Rivera, the ex-champion, the pride of all of Puerto Rico, as an abusive person.”
Looking sternly into the camera, she emphatically says that Lopez is an abusive person who suffers from mental health issues and alleges and that he has a serious problem with alcohol. Ojeda continued, “when he drinks, he becomes a different person; he transforms. He becomes insecure and makes up things in his head.”
Ojeda alleges that in addition to hitting her, Lopez has strangled her and forcefully squeezed her private parts during fits of rage. Additionally, she explained that she had to be out of the public eye for two months because the boxer hit her and hurt her eye.
Ojeda said that she went to the authorities many times but never pressed charges: “I didn't want his kids to suffer any public humiliation, nor did I want to damage his public image.” Ojeda continued, “But that is over, I’m tired, I want everyone to be aware that ‘Juanma’ abuses women. I have been contemplating for a long time if I was going to do this, if I was going to have the courage to speak out. I also contemplated which medium I was going to use, whether I was going to do it live or do a story.”
Ojeda's voice starts to break as she stops herself from crying, it appears. “I need to do this. I need to tell women that follow me that I did not value myself by letting the abuse continue. And any woman that is watching this, that is going through the same thing I'm going through…Any woman that is going through this, take action, don't stay quiet. You're not alone.”
In more footage, you can see Ojeda, in a car. You can hear a man's voice calling, and the man yelling, using the word “whore.” Suddenly, the man's hand reaches into the vehicle, he grabs Ojeda by the hair, and drags out of her car. The video also has text saying, “If I'm found dead tomorrow, Juanma killed me!”
Yes, very dramatic material and there will be time spent in assessing what’s what, and people will want to hear Lopez’ side of the story.
Earlier today at 4:30 pm, Tele 11, a news agency in Puerto Rico, posted select pictures when they published the story.
Fight fans in Puerto Rico must be especially taken aback.
Four months ago, the boxing community was shocked when they heard that Felix Verdejo allegedly murdered his mistress. She was, reports said, pregnant with his baby.
On August 17, Netflix released a documentary chronicling the details of the vicious assault Christy Martin suffered at the hands of her now ex husband.
And the trend has legs, with fighters being in the news for the wrong reasons. In 2014, former adult film performer and tattoo model Christy Mack was beaten to near-death by her ex-boyfriend and former MMA fighter Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver. Domestic violence seems to be a recurring story amongst combat athletes.
We have reached out to both Andrea Ojeda and Juan Manuel Lopez to get their versions of the story. We are waiting to hear back from them and we will update as the story plays out.