And the Concepcion-Lopez plot thickens…
Sports writer/columnist/commentator/analyst par excellance Ronnie Nathanielsz joins the fray, giving us a glimpse of another TOPRANK-GBP tug-o-war. This time as to who really is telling the truth about Juanma Lopez’ fight schedule. Here’s Sir Ronnie’s boxingscene.com article.
The article also confirms my earlier post at philboxing forum about Salven Lagumbay’s “breaking news” (of course Philboxing deleted the thread), on the cancellation of the Concepcion-Lopez fight, information which he though Jaro got directly from Arum. He even got the replacement boxer’s name wrong. Honest mistake really, Salven Lagumbay’s a good man and a real lover of the sport, I think Jaro just failed to tell Lagumbay that he got the info from Dennis Principe’s interview with Arum that same morning.
Anyway, back to the tug-o-war, GBP gets into the mix defending Lopez’ withdrawal, chickening out, backing out, ducking whatever you want to call it, in his scheduled match with Concepcion. Adding that a fight with GBP-boy Oquendo, was already scheduled earlier and that Lopez’ management wasn’t aware of any scheduled fight with Concepcion. So in this regard, Lopez didn’t chicken out, he HAD PRIOR COMMITMENTS. What a spin! Is Golden Boy telling us that the Lopez’ fight with whomever was just finalized a couple of days ago and that the fighters only have a month to train for it? Lopez needs a win to secure a possible title shot a Daniel Ponce De Leon; he can’t just train for a month, no way! I’m sure Lopez’ management would have been informed by GBP or Arum much earlier about possible opponents so they can’t say that until today, Arum didn’t inform them about a possible match with Concepcion.
I don’t think Lopez’ manager Peter Rivera could deny the fact that as early as the November his fighter’s schedule was posted in boxrec.com already (pending changes) and that even Bob Arum in an interview confirmed that Lopez is indeed fighting Concepcion. So there was at least some sort of negotiation happening so Rivera can not say that he “wasn’t informed”. Arum co-manages Lopez with Rivera for chrissake how could he not know that Arum is cooking something up for his fighter and vise-versa?
GBP could spin this all they want but they can never deny the fact that the Lopez-Concepcion fight was published and scheduled (to the point that appeared on boxrec.com) and that for some reason, with a month to go before the fight Lopez “backs out”. Here’s what I think is happening here. GBP manages champ Daniel Ponce De Leon and a crack at de Leon’s WBO belt is what GBP dangled Rivera and Lopez. Of course on the other side, Rivera and Arum sets up a fall-back schedule – a fight with Bernabe Concepcion, just in case GBP and the Lopez camp fail to agree on certain terms and conditions. Then finally GBP and the Lopez camp come into terms, Arum OKs the deal and looks forward to another PPV co-promotion with GBP later this year. Concepcion on the other hand still gets his fight and his paycheck and another sure win under a decent card in Mexico. Everybody gets what they want, everybody goes home happy. But the Juanma Lopez fight-withdrawal just got too much attention, and Juanma is now painted as some fast-food bird. GBP has to do something and such statement, like the one that Sir Ronnie wrote bout, (however absurd), is I believe necessary on the part of GBP.
Fact remains, Juanma Lopez chickened out because he’s scared to lose his chance at Daniel Ponce de Leon. Bok bok bok….