Mikey Garcia vs Juan Manuel Lopez WBO featherweight World title DUAL SIGNED official press pack, 15th June 2013, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas.
Press packs are information packages that are assembled by promoters for members of the media who are assigned to report on the fight. A pack usually contains statistics and bio's on all the fighters and various personnel of the fight. All put together in an attractive folder.
Garcia W TKO 4
Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia floored Juan Manual Lopez twice and, despite losing his WBO featherweight title on the scales, pushed his unbeaten streak to 32 fights with a fourth-round technical knockout win.
Garcia, 25, stuck Lopez repeatedly with a stiff jab, picked his shots well, and regularly snapped back the head of Lopez.
A jab, straight right combination caught Lopez in the mouth at 2:09 of Round 2 and put the former World champion on his backside. He made it to his feet and following the mandatory eight-count was allowed to continue. By the end of the round, however, the Puerto Rican's face was already marked and beginning to swell.
Lopez stepped up his aggression in Round 4, but was repeatedly met as he came forward with clean shots from Garcia, who controlled distance well and showed no signs of being drained from attempting to make the 126-pound limit. A right hand from Garcia, followed seconds later by a left to the side of the head, put Lopez down flat on his back midway through the fourth round. He again got to his feet, but was clearly hurt and stood on shaky legs. At 1:35, the referee waved an end to the bout.
* Mikey Garcia 31-0 (26 KOs) vs. Juan Manuel Lopez 33-2 (30 KOs)
* Garcia entered as the World featherweight champion according to The Ring Magazine. Lopez, a 4.35-to-1 betting underdog, was ranked as the #10 featherweight contender by the same publication.
* Garcia came in two pounds over the 126-pound limit and chose not to attempt to lose the extra weight. Thus, he was stripped of the WBO title and for the fight it was only at stake for Lopez. Garcia also paid Lopez a reported six-figure fine to allow the fight to continue.
* Garcia was five months removed from a badly broken nose in his bout against Orlando Salido (39-11-2). The injury, caused by a headbutt, sent the fight prematurely to the scorecards and required surgery to repair.
* After the bout, Garcia said he felt he could still make the featherweight limit in the future, but indicated he would likely move up to 130 pounds.
* "Juanma has been as exciting as anyone in recent years but the wars took their toll. He's all shot now. That is obvious. He's a shell. One of most amazing things I covered was Juanma surviving the 12th round vs. Rogers Mtagwa. All heart. But there's nothing left. Maybe the comments ... might sound harsh but I've been a fan of his for YEARS. I'm just being honest." - ESPN's Dan Rafael
Miguel "Mikey" Garcia vs Juan Manuel Lopez - TKO 4
Early Life & Education
Born to Mexican parents, Miguel Angel's father, Eduardo, was an amateur boxer and trainer of World champion boxer Fernando Vargas at La Colonia Youth Boxing Club.
His older brother, Roberto was a professional boxer and a former IBF Super Featherweight Champion who lost his belt to the late Diego Corrales. His oldest brother, Daniel, was a boxer and trainer. He has been featured on ABC's show American Latino TV and he talked about balancing studies with the demands of boxing.
Garcia has said he grew up in a "gang-related neighbourhood" in Oxnard, California. Garcia said that his father immigrated from Mexico, and Garcia said that his parents were both strawberry pickers.
Garcia started his amateur career at the age of fourteen. In 2003, he won a silver medal at the National Junior Olympic Championships in the 125 lb division. In 2004, he won a gold medal at the National Junior Golden Gloves Championships and a silver medal at the National Police Athletic League Championships, both in the 132 lb division. In 2005, he won a bronze medal at the National Golden Gloves Championships and a gold medal at the National Police Athletic League Championships, both in the 132 lb division.
* 2003 National Junior Olympic Championships (Silver Medal, 125 lbs)
* 2004 National Junior Golden Gloves Championships (Gold Medal, 132 lbs)
* 2004 National Police Athletic League Championships (Silver Medal, 132 lbs)
* 2005 National Golden Gloves Championships (Bronze Medal, 132 lbs)
* 2005 National Police Athletic League Championships (Gold Medal, 132 lbs)
Professional Career -Featherweight
Garcia is known as a patient fighter with good punching power, a natural right-hander who likes to switch to southpaw during some of his fights. He turned pro in 2006 and signed with Bob Arum's Top Rank. Garcia was undefeated in his first 20 professional fights with 17 of them coming by way of knockout.
In April 2010, Miguel Ángel beat the veteran Tomas Villa by T.K.O. in the first round, to win the USBA Featherweight Championship. He then beat Matt Remillard to win the WBO NABO Featherweight Championship. This would not only be the last boxing bout but also the last event Nick Charles would broadcast, Charles would die a few days later from cancer.
In his next fight HBO asked Garcia to turn down a World title shot against Billy Dib to fight on the undercard of Julio César Chávez, Jr. vs. Sebastian Zbik. After his win over Rafaël Guzmán, Garcia sent his well wishes to Genaro Hernández who was struggling with cancer, Hernández would die a few days later. Months later he beat Juan Carlos Martinez in under four rounds at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Garcia vs Salido
Garcia's first major step up in competition came on January 19, 2013 against WBO Featherweight champion and Ring No. 1 ranked featherweight, Orlando Salido. In front of a near sell out crowd of 4,850 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Garcia dominated the bout from the very beginning, keeping Salido at range with the jab. Garcia knocked Salido down four times early on in the fight, building up a large lead on the scorecards. During the 8th round, Salido accidentally clashed heads with Garcia, causing Garcia's nose to break. The fight was stopped between rounds, with the decision going to the scorecards. Garcia won with the scores of 79-70, 79-69, 79-69 to win his first World title. Speaking of the headbutt, Garcia said, "I had the perfect fight going on. I was beating him up good, and then he drove his head into my face but it was accidental." Garcia earned a career-high $220,000 purse for the fight.
Garcia vs López
Garcia was scheduled to make his first title defence against Juan Manuel Lopez in Dallas on June 15, 2013 Garcia failed to make 126 lb weight limit coming in two pounds overweight. He was stripped of the title. The fight went ahead after Garcia paid Lopez a penalty of $150,000 for missing weight. Garcia claimed the reason for not making weight was due to missing several days of training. On fight night, Garcia re-hydrated to 142 pounds, whilst Lopez weight 137.5 pounds on the HBO scales. In front of a crowd of 5,605 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, Garcia dominated the fight from the opening bell, dropping Lopez in round 2 following a right straight hand. In round 4, Garcia landed a left hook to Lopez, knocking him down again. At 1 minute and 35 seconds of round 4, referee Raphael Ramos waved the fight off, giving Garcia the win. After the fight, Garcia said, "I was able to land my jab and stand pretty comfortable. When I knocked him down, that gave me confidence that I could put him out early." Garcia landed 53 punches, with 40 of them being jabs.
Garcia vs Martínez
On August 1, 2013 the WBO ordered their junior lightweight champion Román Martínez (27-1-2, 16 KOs) to make a mandatory defence against Garcia. On September 9, the date of the purse bid, a deal was set for the fight to take place on November 9 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The attendance was announced as 5,124. Garcia went down in the second round from a Martínez counter right hand. Garcia, however, recovered and dominated the rest of the fight before knocking out Martínez with a left hook to the body in the eighth round. Speaking off the knockout punch, Garcia said, "I thought it was a very good punch when I landed it. I felt I really hurt him, enough to where he wouldn't get up. I had a feeling it would be over after I connected." Garcia landed nearly half of his total 127 power punches. This included 52 punches landed in the last three rounds compared to 8 landed by Martínez. The victory meant Garcia became a two weight World champion.
Garcia vs Burgos
On December 14, 2013 it was announced that Garcia would make his first title defence against mandatory challenger, 25 year old Mexican boxer Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs). The fight was set for January 25, 2014 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on a live double-header on HBO Boxing After Dark, with Bryant Jennings vs. Artur Szpilka as co-main event. Burgos was known to have fought to a split draw with former champion Román Martínez on the Garcia-Salido undercard in January 2013. Garcia went into the fight with a 11-fight knockout streak. After being staggered in the second round, Garcia took control of the fight and won close to every round for the remainder of the bout. At the end of the fight, Garcia won via unanimous decision (118-110, 118-110, 119-109), improving to 34-0. Garcia landed 163 of 567 punches thrown (29%) and Burgos landed 89 of his 564 thrown (16%). In the post fight interview, Garcia admitted he had trouble at the start, "His height gave me difficulty. But I found my range and I found my distance and that was it." Burgos snapped Garcia's knockout streak which stretched back 4 years to 2010 and the fight also marked the first time Garcia saw out the 12 round distance. Garcia called out Yuriorkis Gamboa for a potential fight. The fight averaged 829,000 viewers and peaked at 911,000 viewers.
Contract Dispute With Top Rank
Garcia had been unhappy over his purses, which had been increasing to career-high six-figure levels fight after fight, sued Top Rank in April 2014 to get out of the agreement. Although in arbitration with his promoter, Garcia had expressed plans of returning to the ring under a new contract with Top Rank.
On October 15, Garcia vacated his WBO title. He was due to make a mandatory defence against Interim champion Orlando Salido. Garcia also cited difficultly in making the 130 pound limit, the main reason he vacated. On April 8, 2016, it was confirmed that Garcia and Top Rank, who were locked in a dispute over his promotional contract, had reached a settlement, according to Bob Arum. Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. "All parties came to a mutual agreement, details of that agreement are a confidential matter. We all move on and do what we do." Although Garcia's Top Rank contract was up in August, they reached a deal.
Garcia vs Rojas
Top Rank announced on June 28, 2016, after 2 and a half years off, Garcia would be returning to the boxing ring against former World featherweight titleholder Elio Rojas on July 30 on Showtime in a 10-round bout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the undercard of Santa-Cruz vs Frampton. This would be a one-fight deal with promoter Lou DiBella and Showtime. They met at approximately 138 pounds. The weight had not been contractually hashed out, however Garcia planned to move down with the hopes of challenging for a World title in the 135-pound lightweight division. Garcia scored four knockdowns, before finishing Rojas in the 5th round via knockout. Garcia hit Rojas face-first with a left hand and dropping him with a right uppercut-left hook combination. Rojas, who was only fighting for the second time in four years, beat the count, but referee Claudio waved it off at 2 minutes, 2 seconds. After the fight, Garcia said, "I think it was a very good performance. Even though I've been out for two-and-a-half years, people haven't forgotten about me. I did miss boxing, but the time off helped me regain that fire." CompuBox stats showed that Garcia landed 53 of 162 punches thrown (42%) and Rojas landed 47 of 168 thrown (28%). Rojas came off a 23-month lay-off. The fight averaged 427,000 viewers.
Garcia vs Zlatičanin
Garcia announced he would be fighting at lightweight to challenge undefeated WBC champion Dejan Zlatičanin (22-0, 15 KOs). Zlatičanin claimed the vacant title by knocking out Franklin Mamani in June and also holds decision victories over the likes of Petr Petrov and former multiple weight World champion Ricky Burns. The fight would take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and again serve as a co-feature to the anticipated rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz on January 28, 2017. Garcia stopped Zlatičanin in round three to win the title and give Zlaticanin his first professional defeat. The end came after Garcia hit a two punch combination starting with an uppercut which led Zlatičanin open for a final right hook which dropped him backwards on the floor, a knockout of the year candidate. The referee stopped the fight immediately. Garcia became a three-weight World champion with this knockout win. Garcia's purse for the fight was $375,000 compared to the $320,000 that Zlatičanin received. In the post fight interview, Garcia said that he would like to unify the division and also mentioned fighting undefeated Terence Crawford at light welterweight. Garcia landed 50 punches of 176 thrown (28%), whilst Zlatičanin landed only 16 of 60 (27%). The fight averaged 544,000 and peaked at 617,000 viewers.
Return To Light Welterweight
Garcia vs Broner
On May 25, 2017 it was announced that talks were underway for a fight between Garcia and four-weight World champion Adrien Broner on July 29, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A deal which would include a catchweight of 140 pounds, the super lightweight limit, with Showtime the likely network to broadcast the fight. On Monday, May 22, Broner was sentenced to 72 hours at the Kenton County Detention Center in Covington, Kentucky, on a contempt charge, after failing to make multiple court appearances. Garcia said he would be returning to lightweight after the fight, adding that the Broner fight was 'too good and too lucrative' to pass up.
If Broner missed weight, he would be fined $500,000. He said he would be more disciplined because he won't give up half a million dollars and claimed he had a reason to not miss weight.
On July 20, 8 days before the official weigh in, Broner reportedly weighed 144 pounds and said that he would 'comfortably make weight tomorrow'. On July 21, the WBC announced that their Diamond light welterweight title would be at stake for the fight. Garcia weighed in a career high 139.5 pounds and more than Broner, who weighed 138.7 pounds.
Garcia won the fight by unanimous decision with the three judges scoring the fight 117-111, 116-112, 116-112. The fight started tentatively, with both boxers landing few punches in the opening round. But over the course of the fight, Garcia took over and by the championship rounds he was significantly outpacing Broner in punches landed and thrown. ESPN scored the fight 120-108 shutout win for Garcia. In the post fight interviews, Garcia praised his performance and Broner, "This is definitely one of my best performances ever. I think I controlled the fight in the early rounds and I kept the activity up. Broner is a great fighter who has great skills. I was the superior fighter tonight." Broner was humble in defeat, but stated that he had to catch Garcia,who he claimed was running, "It was a good fight. At the end of the day, I come to fight, I come to win and I put my heart on the line. It was Tom & Jerry – I had to catch the mouse."
Both fighters earned a $1 million purse for the fight. CompuBox statistics showed that Garcia was the more active boxer, landing 244 of 783 punches (31%), Broner landed only 125 of 400 thrown (31%). Garcia threw over 200 punches in the last four rounds alone, trying to get the stoppage win. Garcia said he was open to any boxer coming over to showtime, whether that be at 135, 140 or even 147 pounds. The fight drew an average 881,000 viewers on Showtime and peaked at 937,000 viewers, making it the most watched fight on Showtime since Deontay Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne to win the WBC heavyweight title in January 2015. That fight drew an average of 1.24 million.
Garcia vs Lipinets
In early September 2017, Garcia took to social media and called out four-weight World champion Miguel Cotto for a fight in December, possibly being Cotto's final fight. Garcia's trainer and brother Roberto explained that it was his friend Rudy Hernandez who first mentioned taking Mikey up to 154 pounds for a one off fight. On September 21, he reiterated his desire to move up to 154 to be Cotto's final foe. Cotto's trainer was also open for the fight to take place.
Robert Garcia explained if Mikey is unable to land a fight with Cotto, he could potentially fight Robert Easter Jr. in a unification fight in December. On October 5, the WBC ordered a fight between Garcia and Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), as Linares holds the WBC Diamond title, in addition to the WBA lightweight title. Garcia commented on Twitter that the Cotto fight couldn't happen as Golden Boy Promotions required him signing an exclusive long-term contract with them in order to make the fight. Garcia also mentioned that the fight with Linares wouldn't happen before the end of the year as Linares was unavailable on December. Lance Pugmire reported for the Los Angeles Times that Garcia would most likely return on December or January against Robert Easter Jr.
Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy sent out a message to Garcia stating if he wanted the fight with Linares, it could be made, without any add-ons to the contract. Garcia later replied, "No need to put it out in public. You also have my number, I'll call you later bro." Gomez later announced that Garcia had rejected their offer for the fight with Linares, despite Golden Boy meeting his terms. Garcia said he had received a more lucrative offer. He said, "I have more options, in fact the guaranteed purse is better just as Golden Boy is looking to do what's best for their company, I am also looking to do what's best for me."
On December 14, 2017 RingTV.com announced that Garcia would next challenge recently crowned IBF light welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) on February 10, 2018 on Showtime. According to early reports, the fight was likely to take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. WBC president Sulaiman announced that Garcia would keep his lightweight title regardless of the result. On January 17, 2018 it was reported the fight would be postponed due to Lipinets suffering a hand injury whilst in training. Lipinets co-manager, Alex Vaysfeld stated the hand injury occurred in December 2017 and Lipinets had begged him not to postpone the fight. A doctors report suggested he could be out for a month. A few days later, the fight was rescheduled to take place on March 10. The bout would remain in San Antonio, however the Freeman Coliseum was announced as the new venue.
Garcia dropped Lipinets in round 7, en route to becoming a four-weight World champion via unanimous decision after 12 rounds. The final scorecards read 116-111, 117-110 and 117-110 in favour of Garcia. Many of the rounds were close with Garcia doing more to win each round. Lipinets landed the harder punches. Garcia came in to the fight with a game plan knowing Lipinets was the bigger man, he used different angles behind his jab and remained patient. A left hook to Lipinets's face dropped him for the first time in his professional career. Lipinets managed to get up and finish the round on steady legs. CompuBox Stats showed that Garcia landed 169 of 679 total punches (25%) and Lipinets landed 144 of his 509 thrown (28%). Garcia landed 46% of his power punches; 92 to Lipinets' 73. With the victory, Garcia joined Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only fighters in history to win titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds.
Summit For Brain Health
In February 2014, Garcia, along with Bernard Hopkins and a few other athletes, attended a summit at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the United States Capitol, in support of furthering research of preventing brain damage and other mental risk in competitive activity. The summit consisted of speeches about preventing brain damage and research to aid already suffering victims.
Juan Manuel "Juanma" López (born June 30, 1983) a Puerto Rican. As an amateur, Lopez represented Puerto Rico at numerous international tournaments including the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games, 2003 Pan American Games and the 2004 Summer Olympics. López's professional career began in 2005. As a professional he won his first nine fights by knockout before winning his first decision.
On September 30, 2006 he defeated Jose Alonso to win the WBO Latino super bantamweight Championship, a regional championship sanctioned by the World Boxing Organization.
On June 7, 2008, Lopez defeated Daniel Ponce de León by technical knockout to win the WBO super bantamweight championship. He held the title until January 23, 2009, vacating it after defeating Steven Luevano for the organization's featherweight championship
López has a relationship with Bárbara De Jesús that has lasted for several years. The couple has two children, which share the house with three siblings. The couple met in a public housing project in Juncos where López's mother lived.
In the beginning López's family did not support the relationship because De Jesús had three children from a previous relation. They eventually moved together and established a residence in Caguas. De Jesús plays a role in López's training, preparing seven daily meals and accompanying him in weight routines. Several members of their family attend his daily trainings, which he considers a "tranquility provider". De Jesús is also present in López's corner when a fight is in progress and receives a salary for scheduling his daily agenda.
The couple held their civil wedding in August 2009. A catholic wedding was subsequently held on July 18, 2010. On February, 2011, only 7 months after his wedding, López filed a divorce claim against Bárbara De Jesús for undisclosed reasons.
López's professional success garnered him fame in Puerto Rico where he became a mainstream celebrity, having frequent participation in television segments transmitted throughout the archipelago. Due to this, he has attended public celebrations and other activities unrelated to pugilism, including the launch party for TV y Novelas Puerto Rico, a magazine focused in telenovelas. Outside of his own fights, López also attends other boxing cards as a spectator and performed as guest commentator in an event titled Guerra Civil II headlined by a fight between Iván Calderón and Nelson Dieppa. He also participates in charity work, including the WBO's Christmas gift giveaways.
López started boxing when he was ten years old. He won the Puerto Rican national amateur championship for five consecutive years between 2000 and 2004. López represented Puerto Rico internationally, fighting in the bantamweight division (119 pounds (54 kg) in the amateur circuit). In the 2001 Pan American Championships held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from August 10–18, López ended in the second place after Elio Rojas of the Dominican Republic. He was part of the national team assembled to competed in the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games, held in San Salvador. In this competition, López debuted by defeating local pugilist, Antonio Nuñez, by points (23:16). But lost a decision to Abner Mares of Mexico, with scores of 23:19. In the first 2003 Pan American Qualifier, López debuted by defeating Francisco Palma of Ecuador, with scores of 12:8. In the semifinals, he lost to Alexander Espinoza of Venezuela by points (11:10). His next major international event was the 2003 Pan American Games, organized in Santo Domingo.
Debuting in the preliminaries, López defeated Castulo González of Guatemala by points (27:10) in the inaugural fight. In the quarterfinals, he was matched against Mares, losing another fight by points, on this occasion with results of 24:21. López was among the Puerto Rican boxers that competed in the American Olympic Qualification tournament, which took place in Tijuana. Beginning his participation on March 14, 2004, by defeating Roberto Benítez of the United States via decision. In the tournament's second date, he defeated Algenis Méndez who represented the Dominican Republic by points. In the final, López lost a decision to Andrew Kooner of Canada, with scores of 29:18. This performance earned him a position in the national team that participated at the 2004 Summer Olympics, held in Athens. As part of his training for that games, López participated in two "Puerto Rico vs. USA" tournaments, where both national teams paired those qualified for the event.
The first of these took place on May 7, 2004, in Reno, Nevada. There, López defeated Eric Hunter by walkover. In the second, organized in Trenton, New Jersey on October 4, 2004, he defeated Torrence Daniels by points (16:15).
This was followed by his last a participation in the Jose "Cheo" Aponte Tournament in Caguas, Puerto Rico where he defeated Luis Peña in the finals, 33-5. López's Olympic debut took place on August 17, 2004, where he was paired against Khavazhi Khatsigov of Belarus, losing the contest by points (27:19). At the moment of closing his amateur career, he had compiled a record of 126-24.
López turned professional in 2005 following the Olympic games, boxing in the junior featherweight division. As a professional he is promoted by Top Rank Boxing and comanaged by Orlando Piñero and Peter Rivera, president of Puerto Rico Best Boxing Promotions. López debuted on January 29, 2005, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico picking a quick knockout victory against also debuting boxer Luis Colón. He would go on to defeat nine straight adversaries by knockout: Ivan Cordero, Efrain Perez, Eric Nemos, Charlie Jones, Roberto Chacón, Luis Bolaño, Manuel Sanabria and Jose Luis Caro. He concluded his first year as a professional with a record of 8–0 with eight knockouts, which earned him the Puerto Rico Boxing Commission's recognition for rookie and prospect of the year.
On March 4, 2006, he won his first fight by unanimous decision against Gilberto Bolanos of Mexico. He would win four more fights before the end of 2006, three of them by knockout. One of these fights was against Jose Alonso, for the WBO Latino Super Bantamweight Championship, a regional championship sanctioned by the World Boxing Organization.
The fight took place on September 30, 2006, in Caguas and ended in the third round when López defeated Alonso by technical knockout. His first fight of 2007 took place in Dodge Arena in Phoenix, Arizona against Cuauhtemoc Vargas, in a fight he won when Vargas was unable to continue. He would compete again on March 3 in San Juan, against Leivi Brea, in a fight that he won by technical knockout. On April 28, 2007, López would have his first fight outside of Puerto Rico and the United States in a fight that took place in Barranquilla, Colombia. The fight was against Colombian boxer Jorge Otero, the fight ended when the referee stopped the fight thus giving López another technical knockout victory. López's next fight took place on June 22, 2007, in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico against Giovanni Andrade of Brazil as the main event of a card presented by Puerto Rico Best Boxing. López won the fight by technical knockout at 2:59 of the first round when Andrade indicated to the referee that he could not continue. On August 4, 2007, López retained his regional title in a fight where he defeated Hugo Dianzo by technical knockout. López dominated throughout the fight opening wounds on Dianzo's head. On the tenth round one of López's punches opened one of these wounds further which led to Dianzo losing a significant amount of blood, following this incident the referee stopped the fight. López would successfully defend his regional title against Omar Adorno, in a special fight card presented by the WBO that took place on October 31, 2007.
Juan scored three knockdows throughout the course of the fight, and after two minutes of the second round had passed he won the fight by knockout. López's fourth title defence took place on February 23, 2008, when he defeated Jonathan Oquendo by technical knockout in the third round of an event titled Guerra Civil.
WBO Super Bantamweight Title
On June 7, 2008, López fought in his first World championship match when he challenged Daniel Ponce de León for the World Boxing Organization's super bantamweight title in a card organized by Home Box Office at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He won by technical knockout in the first round, when the referee stopped the fight after Ponce de León failed to respond following two consecutive knockdowns.
After attending several homages, presentations and interviews, López received his championship belt from the WBO's president, Francisco "Paco" Valcárcel, on June 13, 2008. During this ceremony, he received a letter from Wilfredo Gómez, offering congratulations and predicting a solid career. López's first defence was against César Figueroa and it took place on October 4, 2008, in an event titled "The First Step" which was organized at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in Puerto Rico. The opponent in this contest was originally expected to be Olivier Lontchi, but he was discarded after earning a draw against what was perceived as a "low quality" adversary. His entrance featured fireworks and personalized music composed by Baby Rasta & Gringo, while Félix Trinidad and Iván Calderón accompanied him in the ring.
The fight lasted only 47 seconds, López began by boxing around the ring and throwing sporadic jabs, but in his first offensive attempt he connected a combination that left Figueroa unconscious. Roberto Ramírez, the fight's referee, concluded the protection count without response and stopped the contest by knockout. This marked the fifth fastest knockout victory in a title fight, superating Mike Tyson's win over Michael Spinks. Two days after this fight, Bob Arum confirmed that López would be featured as part of "The Dream Match" card, which presented a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya in the main event. López began training again on October 13, 2008, seeking to conserve and improve his physical condition for this event.
During this week, Israel Vázquez responded to a challenge issued following the defence against Figueroa, stating that a matchup between both pugilists would be "interesting" because it would "be a challenge". López concured, noting that after a preparatory fight in 2009, the plan would be to organize the fight in New York, the night before the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Approaches were made to several of the ranked pugilists, with Sergio Medina and Bernabé Concepción emerging as tentative opponents. The WBO's bantamweight champion, Gerry Peñalosa, expressed interest in pursuing the fight after Abner Mares was injured, but his proposal included a guarantee of $250,000 in earnings, which wasn't considered as cost effective by López and his staff. In the meanwhile, he received a homage as part of the Dominican Parade in San Juan, serving as Padrino Internacional (lit. "International Godfather") along Calderón.
Medina, who at the moment was ranked fourth by the WBO, was ultimately selected as the adversary for the event organized on December 6, 2008. During the activities organized prior to this card, López met Vázquez and Rafael Márquez in person, with both of them expressing interest in competing against him during 2009. The fight lasted 1:38, being stopped by the referee in the first round, when López scored three consecutive knockdowns. According to Compubox, Medina was only able to land one punch in six attempts, while exhibiting a timid pace. López took offensive initiative and continued in control of the fight's tempo throughout the contest. In recognition to his performance during 2008, López received numerous recognitions including "Athlete of the Year" awards from Primera Hora and the Museo del Deporte de Puerto Rico, in addition he was included in a list titled Los pioneros del año published by El Nuevo Día, which discussed the year's most notorious public figures.
On February 10, 2009, Golden Boy Promotions' vice president, Eric Gómez, confirmed that López's first mandatory defence would be against Peñalosa.
The event was held on April 25, 2009, being dubbed "Campeón vs.Campeón", emphasizing that both boxers were champions entering the contest. Early in the fight, both pugilists exchanged combinations, with López gaining a slight advantage by targeting the head and body of Peñalosa. This pattern continued in the third and fourth rounds, while the challenger continued counterattacking despite receiving more damage. Between the fifth and sixth chapters, both pugilists exchanged combinations, with Peñalosa scoring his most solid punches. During the following two rounds, López managed to establish control of the offensive's tempo, but Peñalosa continued using his counterattack. Prior to the ninth chapter, Peñalosa's trainer, Freddie Roach, warned him that he had to win by knockout or the fight would be stopped. In the round, the pattern continued with few variations, once it was over Roach submitted the fight. With this technical knockout, López became the first boxer to defeat the veteran by knockout.
After the fight, Peñalosa received an ovation from the public for his effort. Throughout the fight, López established divisional records, breaking the marks for most power punches landed in a round and most power punches thrown in a round, both were achieved during the eight round.
Subsequently, López defended against Oliver Lontchi.m The pugilist began the fight calmly. In the second round, López scored a knockdown. Consequently, Lontchi switched to a defensive tactic during the following round, before beginning to exchange combinations. López was scoring the stronger punches during these exchanges, winning the sixth and seventh chapters. In the ninth, Lontchi received a second knockdown and his corner decided to stop the fight during the recess. In his last fight at the super bantamweight division, López defended against Rogers Mtagwa.
The first stage of the fight featured a head clash that injured López's left eye. In the fifth round, the pugilist scored a knockdown, but Mtagwa recovered and continued. In the eight round, López engaged on the offensive, gaining advantage. Mtagwa scored punches after the bell in the eight and ninth rounds. Despite holding a lead on the scorecards, López decided to continue trading in the latter half of the fight. In the final minute of the eleventh round, Mtagwa injured him with a punch, but was not able to score a knockdown. López, still injured, employed a defensive stance throughout the twelfth round, surviving to receive a unanimous decision with scores of 116-111, 115-111 and 114-113.
Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rafael Marquez
Immediately following this fight, plans to fight Steven Luevano for the WBO featherweight championship were made public. An economic agreement was reached in November 2009. The event was organized on January, 2010, at Madison Square Garden. Both boxed around the ring during the first round, with López gaining a slight advantage.
Luevano used his speed to employ a constant jab during the second round, working on counter-punches, which left him open to a combination to end that stage. López began pursuing the offensive during the third round, employing combinations and pursuing Luevano, who attempted to counter. This pattern persisted during the following two rounds. By the sixth round López's offensive had damaged Luevano's left eye, which began to swell. In the seventh round López scored a knockdown following a combination.
Luevano was able to stand up but was still injured, which prompted the referee to stop the fight by technical knockout.
López's first featherweight defence took place on July 10, 2010, against the WBO's mandatory challenger, Bernabé Concepción. The first round began with both boxers circling around the ring, studying their respective opponent.
During an exchange Concepción received a left hook that forced him to fall back against the ropes, López then engaged on the offensive, scoring a knockdown. This pattern continued, with Concepción staying on the offensive until he was able to counter and score a knockdown. López began the second round more aggressive, scoring two consecutive knockdowns, which prompted the referee to stop the fight by technical knockout.
With this outcome, previous negotiations with Rafael Márquez's camp continued, pursuing an autumn date for the contest. September 18, 2010, was the original scheluded date, but an injury suffered by Márquez during training forced posponement. The event was re-scheluded for November 6, 2010. López won the fight by a TKO in the 9th round, when Márquez refused to come back to fight due to an injured shoulder.
On April 16, 2011, he lost the WBO title to Orlando Salido via technical knockout, as the referee stopped the fight in the 8th round. The bout was held in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The outcome of the fight was a huge upset. It was the first loss of López' career. On March 10, 2012, he lost again to Orlando Salido in a rematch by 10th round technical knockout in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez's excuse was that he could've continued to fight and that the referee only stopped the fight in that scenario because he had a bet placed on Salido to win the fight.
Then after almost 11 months of inactivity from the ring, Lopez finally returned to face Aldimar Silva on February 2, 2013.
Lopez showed no signs of ring rust, dominating Silva from start to finish, before ultimately winning the fight by TKO in the ninth round. Just nearly 3 months later, he then faced Eugenio Lopez in Mexico on April 20, 2013. His fight Eugenio proved to be even easier than his destruction over Aldimar Silva when Lopez defeated him via lop-sided second-round knock-out.