Puerto Rican superstar and WBO featherweight champ Juan Manuel Lopez and Mexican legend and future Hall of Famer Rafael Marquez participated in an open workout at Fortune Gym in Hollywood on Monday, just five days before their rivalry fight on Saturday, Nov. 6, live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
One of boxing’s fastest rising stars, Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs), of Caguas , Puerto Rico , will attempt to make the third defense of his WBO crown.
The 27-year-old champion has registered an astounding 26 knockouts in 29 professional fights. The power-punching southpaw will now face the toughest and most important test of his career in Marquez, a battle-tested great with a relentless desire to win at all costs.
Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs), of México City, a former IBF bantamweight champion, cemented himself in boxing lore when he moved up to 122 pounds to take on Israel Vazquez in what became an unforgettable four-fight series that saw each warrior win a pair of battles.
The 35-year-old is coming off a third-round knockout of Vazquez in the final installment of the series in only his second fight at featherweight (126). Now, he’ll take on the younger Lopez at 126 pounds in a quest for a world title in his third division.
In the co-feature, world-ranked contender Allan Green will face veteran contender and former world champ Glen Johnson in a must-win Super Six World Boxing Classic bout. The winner of the 12-rounder will earn a spot in the tournament Semi-Finals.
What the fighters had to say on Monday: Juan Manuel Lopez: “It’s definitely not going to be an easy fight. Marquez has been in some wars, so that’s what I’m preparing for. I had a real good camp in Puerto Rico and then in Las Vegas last week. I’m definitely ready to get in the ring.
“I think sometimes if you knock out a guy like this early in the fight then the people won’t be happy. I’m hoping this will be a real long fight so people can see it and enjoy it.
On the Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry: “I think it is the biggest rivalry in boxing. We’ve had some great fights, but it’s not just the fights. We’ve also had some great fighters, some true legends.
“Facing a guy like Marquez makes the fight that much bigger. It does carry a lot more weight for me than any regular fight. This is much bigger than that.”
Rafael Marquez: “I feel good at this weight. I’m happy to finally be here. I think the key to this fight will be conditioning. Whoever is better conditioned to go the 12 rounds will be the winner.
“I’ve fought guys with great records before. If you know what you’re doing in the ring and you’re smart you won’t have any problems. So I’m not worried about him having a perfect record.
“I don’t think you can rely on experience to do everything. Obviously I have more experience, but I’m not putting any stake in it. You have to be well conditioned and prepared.”
On changing trainers:
“It got to the point that Nacho (Beristain) wasn’t training me anymore. It was just time to move on. (New trainer Daniel) Zaragoza has taught me a lot. He’s left handed, and I’m fighting a lefty, so he opens up a lot more opportunities for me.
On winning a title in a third weight division:
“This fight is something that I need, I want and that I’m capable of doing.”
On the Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry:
“For me, it’s not something that’s extra. All I know is we’ve had some great fighters and some of the best fights in the world.”