Juan Manuel Lopez & Rafael
Photos: Chris Farina - Top Rank
Undefeated World Boxing
Organization (WBO) featherweight champion JUAN MANUEL
LOPEZ and two-division world champion RAFAEL MARQUEZ,
the pride of Puerto Rico and México, respectively,
hosted a News Conference Luncheon announcing their
highly anticipated world featherweight title fight on
Tuesday in the Gold Ballroom at the Millennium Biltmore
Hotel Los Angeles.
The fighters were joined by their teams, including
promoters Bob Arum, Ivan Rivera, Gary Shaw and Fernando
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with PR Best
Boxing, Zanfer Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions and
SHOWTIME, the Lopez-Marquez world championship fight
will take place Saturday, Sept. 18 at the MGM Grand
Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be televised live on
SHOWTIME Championship Boxing at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on
the west coast).
Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs), of
Caguas, Puerto Rico, will be making his second defense
of the featherweight title he captured in January. He
previously held the WBO junior featherweight crown
during a two-year reign which included five successful
title defenses, four by knockout.
Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs), of México City, has held the
International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight and
World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight titles.
He'll be looking to join his brother Juan Manuel as the
only brothers to win world titles in three different
divisions. Marquez returns to the ring after knocking
out arch rival Israel Vasquez in the third round of
their May 22 championship bout to even up their historic
series at 2-2.
Here’s what the principals had to say on Tuesday.
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ
“For me this is a great honor to fight a fighter the
caliber of a Rafael Marquez. When you fight the best you
become the best and this is the opportunity for me to
become the best. To fight a guy at this level it is my
chance to show everybody what I’m capable of doing. I’m
really looking forward to this fight.
“Me and (Felix) Tito (Trinidad) are good friends and we
talk a lot. You know, I can’t believe it when he calls
me and talks to me and says he wants to be my friend. He
was my idol and now all of a sudden he’s my friend.
“I’m here for the fans. They are the ones that made me
and I want to give them the best show I can. Whenever I
go into the ring I’m always thinking of my fans.
“I know I’m going to have to go in there smart and fight
intelligently. You can’t just go in there and trade with
this guy. You have to know when to strike.”
Regarding his legacy:
“The fans will ultimately decide that. I just want them
to remember me.”
“I am very prepared for this. In my career I have only
fought the best fighters out there and that’s what I
will continue to do. I feel I’m fighting one of the best
in Juan Manuel Lopez.
“Who wouldn’t like to be remembered as one of the best
ever? I think I will be remembered as a warrior fighter
who fought the best. When I’m all finished I would like
to be a guy who is remembered as one who always put his
entire heart into a fight. I have loved this sport since
I was a little kid and I just want people to think of me
as someone who always gave their all.
“I feel the best at this weight, 126. I feel better than
118 and better than 122. This is also just my opponents’
third fight at 126. So no, I do not regret this decision
to fight at this weight.
On the fight being held the weekend of Mexico’s
“There will be a lot of Mexican fans in Las Vegas
celebrating that weekend. I will be very patriotic and
represent by holding up the Mexican flag.”
“I know they say (Lopez) has big punching power, but I
have faced big punchers like Vazquez. I know he is
younger also. But age has nothing to do with anything in
this sport. It all depends on how you take care of
yourself and how you prepare yourself for the fights.
And that is the key. Age will not make a difference.
“This fight will end by knockout. And I’m going to win.”
“What we have with this fight is the pride of Puerto
Rico against the pride of Mexico taking place at the
Palace of Boxing, the MGM Grand Garden Arena at MGM
“I remember the first time I ever saw JuanMa. He must
have had one pro fight and he was there telling me, ‘I
want to fight for a world title.’ It’s one thing to be a
great fighter. It’s another thing altogether to be as
charismatic a fight as JuanMa is. His compatriot Tito
Trinidad was that type of fighter and JuanMa is of the
same make and mold. He is beloved by the Puerto Ricans
who live on the islands and those who also live here in
the continental United States.”
“This fight has the ability to have a great trilogy and
beyond just as Marquez-Vazquez had. This is a very
meaningful fight for Marquez as he could be part of the
first brother team to hold three world titles.”