For a man who started his career with 6 wins, 5 losses and a draw, nobody can say Mexico’s Orlando Salido (35-11-2, 23 KOs) has been given anything in the sport of boxing. Whatever he has gotten has been earned and tonight was no different when he shocked the world by handing Puerto Rican superstar and WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1, 27 KOs) his first defeat via an 8thround TKO.
On many top ten pound-for-pound lists, Lopez was expected to walk right through Salido before a hometown crowd of over 12,000 fans in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, but the expectation simply never materialized, as the hard as nails Mexican had something to say about it in a big way.
Although the first three rounds were very competitive and closely contested, it appeared Juan Manuel Lopez was slightly getting the better of his opponent with hooks to the head, while Orlando Salido concentrated his attack on the body to slow the faster champion down. That being said, the fight was quickly developing into a brawl which did not seem to be in the interest of the technically superior Lopez.
Orlando Salido began turning up the heat in round four, clearly taking the round with effective pressure and aggressiveness, landing no less than eight hard right hands in the process.
It was more of the same in the fifth, with Salido doing most of the effective work before dropping and seriously hurting Lopez complements of a right hook with 16 seconds left in the round. Shaken and on wobbly legs, Lopez beat the count and was essentially saved by the bell before the challenger could do anymore damage.
Coming out in the sixth to end matters, Orlando Salido dominated the first two minutes of the frame and had Juan Manuel Lopez stunned by a couple of right hands to the jaw. But with about one minute left in the round, the champion started to turn the tide and cracked Salido with a left hook that had the challenger a bit dazed.
The seventh round was a slugfest as both men threw and landed big shots but with the crowd urging him on, Lopez outworked the Mexican and had him reeling into the ropes after a straight left hand just before the bell.
In the eighth, Orlando Salido came out like a raging bull, putting tremendous pressure on the champion and landing numerous power punches to get him virtually out on his feet. Driving Lopez into a corner and pounding him with left and right hooks, referee Robert Ramirez Jr. had seen enough and called a halt to the action at the 1:39 mark.
The stoppage may have been a little premature, given Juan Manuel Lopez was still throwing some feeble counterpunches, but there was no doubt he was a seriously injured man at the time the bout was waved off.