Juanma suspended for year, fined $10K
The suspension leveled by the Puerto Rico Boxing Commission, which also ordered López to perform 100 hours of community service, creates uncertainty over the former two-time world champion’s future in the ring.
López had signaled he has no plans to retire following his second defeat to Salido in their WBO featherweight title rematch on March 10, but has said a suspension would force him into early retirement. He has 20 days to appeal and has no fights scheduled.
The decision was handed down based on a report filed by attorney Alberto Arroyo, who was tapped by the commission to mull sanctions against López over his post-fight outburst against referee Roberto Ramírez.
The 31-year-old Salido earned a technical knockout at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan to improve to 38-11-2 with 26 KOs. The 28-year-old López dropped to 31-2 with 28 KOs.
In a post-fight interview, the Caguas native credited Salido for being a tough fighter, but charged that Ramírez had a gambling habit that was the motive for his decision to stop the fight. He made similar comments about Ramírez’s son, who was the referee for the first López-Salido bout.
Last April, Salido beat López in Bayamón to take the WBO crown with another technical knockout in the eighth round. The referee was escorted from the Rubén Rodríguez Coliseum by security to protect him from irate fans.
López has repeatedly apologized for the verbal jabs and said he does not recall what he said or did after the fight until he saw a video of himself the following day.
During a hearing before Arroyo last month, he apologized for calling them “gamblers” and admitted that he had no evidence to support his claims that were broadcast worldwide on Showtime following his latest loss to Salido.
“We hope that they consider that this is my way of life, my work,” said López. “I was sincere. I have no evidence. I told the truth and asked for forgiveness and I apologized to Ramírez. I am a representative of the Puerto Rican flag and I apologize to the country.”
López has reportedly agreed to sign a document that acknowledges there is no evidence that Ramirez is a gambler, as well as record a video to place on social networking sites including YouTube and Showtime as well as a letter to the various sanctioning bodies.
Peter Rivera, whose Puerto Rico-based company co-promotes López with Las Vegas-based Top Rank, told BoxingScene.com that Lopez is planning to appeal the decision.
“We will definitely appeal the penalty, which we believe is too much for a boxer,” Rivera, vice president of PR Best Boxing Promotions, told BoxingScene. “We are already meeting with Juanma and his entire legal team ... to carry out this appeal.”
Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, called the decision “ludicrous.”
“The Puerto Rican commission should be ashamed of themselves,” Arum said. “To punish a kid for saying anything after he has been concussed in the ring in ludicrous. People who have suffered a concussion and who have suffered that type of punishment when they are still feeling the affects of it are prone to say anything.
“And they're not responsible for what they say. Now if he said it the day after, or sometime after, yeah, you can throw the book at him. But not when he says it immediately upon being concussed and being knocked out,” Arum said. “That is not right.”