Two of boxing’s once hottest prospects will quietly return to action tonight after long layoffs. Juan Manuel Lopez (31-2, 28 KO’s), also famously known as Juanma, who was laid off for nearly a year will square off against Aldimar Silva Santos (18-3, 9 KO’s). It’s not believed that Santos will pose any sort of threat to the dangerous Lopez. Lopez was once considered as the next superstar in boxing. When it came to putting on a show, he didn’t just beat the top contenders in his division, he destroyed them. Lopez was on his way to superstar status until he ran into Orlando Salido whose awkward style gave Juanma tons of trouble ultimately stopping him in both their first encounter and the rematch. Juanma was suspended after the rematch in March of last year, accusing referee Robert Ramirez of being a 'gambler'. Lopez is now looking to look past his only two losses and show the world that he is the superstar boxer that fans always thought he could be.
In a separate card flying under the radar of boxing is the reappearance of Andre Dirrell (20-1, 14 KO’s) who will face Michael Gbenga (14-6, 14 KO’s). Dirrell is coming off a thirteen month layoff in which he won 2nd round TKO over Darryl Cunningham. Before that he suffered the first loss of his career in a split decision, one that could have went either way, to Carl Froch in the Super Six Super Middleweight championship. Dirrell was forced to pull out of the tournament before facing longtime friend and pound for pound great Andre Ward.
We should look forward to seeing more of Juanma and Dirrell who are both capable of drawing fans and making exciting fights with their divisions top fighters. Neither opponent tonight should threaten the return of two of boxing’s great fighters. But, we never do know do we. This is boxing.