PUNCHUP IN PUERTO RICO: JuanMa Lopez Wins, Then Tussles With Vazquez Trainer



PUNCHUP IN PUERTO RICO: JuanMa Lopez Wins, Then Tussles With Vazquez Trainer

There was a wild finish to the JuanMa Lopez V Wilfredo Vazquez Jr main event in Puerto Rico Saturday night, which serves to remind us why boxing is called “the theater of the unexpected.”

Fight fans who bought the Integrated Sports/Doug Jacobs PPV were rewarded with a jaw dropper finish, as JuanMa flurried on Fredo (24-7-1; age 32) and finished him in round 11 in a tight tussle.

Then, more drama. JuanMa wasn't done. He walked determinedly to the Vazquez corner and hauled off on cornermen Albert Rivera. The Puerto Rico resident was ready to rumble against his fellow Boricua.

While eating and semi slipping a Juanma (35-5; age 33) left, Rivera threw and landed a crisp check hook, following that with another hook, a right cross, a left and a severe sturdy right. Five launches, five connects.

Courtesy of ace publicist “Brighton” Bobby Trieger: “Albert Rivera is the brother of Alex Rivera who was Norman Stone's assistant and he took over fight when Stoney was throw out of corner in the John Ruiz-Andrew Golota fight (2004 in Madison Square Garden).

Albert trains fighters in Puerto Rico.”

And he can now furnish video proof that he knows of what he speaks.

I checked in with Andy, one of the five Rivera brothers. The Massachusetts man was present in the arena. He said tensions built all week, and that JuanMa dissed Albert by saying nobody knew who he was. I asked Andy if his brother baited JuanMa, verbally, which would have prompted Lopez to advance at him. “No! Lopez came at my brother, who has fought amateur, and he defended himself! Listen, we all know tensions can get high but a professional like Lopez has to control himself!” Andy said Albert saw Lopez readying his left so he readied himself. “His punch was maybe quicker than JuanMa's,” he said of the youngest bro. “My brother didn't fight pro, but he could always punch!” Andy took issue with ESPN's Dan Rafael writing that Albert attacked Lopez. “How? Lopez came at Albert, who was coming into the ring to see his fighter. The commission had okayed that!”

An idea: JuanMa versus Albert Rivera next up!

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.

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