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Juan Manuel Lopez apologizes (again) to referee for reckless post-fight comments

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Juanma Lopez apologizes for derogatory comments about referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. (Photo by Jose Perez)

Former featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez held a news conference in Puerto Rico Tuesday to apologize for ill-advised comments he made about referee Roberto Ramirez following a March 10 bout in San Juan with Orlando Salido.

After being stopped in the 10th round by Salido, Lopez ripped Ramirez and accused the official and his son, also a referee based in Puerto Rico, of gambling in an interview with Showtime's Jim Gray.

In the first fight, his son stopped it. Now the father stopped it. The referee stopped the fight because he has gambling problems. I told the (Puerto Rican Boxing) Commission the referee was a gambler. And they did wrong putting him as the referee. It was very irresponsible for putting him as the referee knowing he has a gambling problem.

Lopez apologized the following day, but Ramirez Sr. wasn't certain it was since and did not accept it. On Saturday, the Puerto Rican boxing commission announced it had suspended Lopez for a year.

Thus, on Tuesday Lopez held another news conference to discuss the topic.

I want to apologize again, now in public, to Roberto Ramirez for the comments I made after the fight against Salido. I'm embarrassed for all what happened and I want that Ramirez forgive me. I don't remember what I said. I'm ashamed. I saw the fight and, really, I was hurt. Roberto [did] a good job in stopping the fight. I apologize again to Ramirez and to all the fans in Puerto Rico and around the world.

Lopez clearly hopes his apology will lighten his punishment. He said the impact of a year-long suspension in his homeland would be severe.

It would advance my retirement. Boxing is my job, I couldn't go a year without fight.

Lopez's comments were ridiculous and way off-base. Ramirez did a perfect job stopping the fight. However, I believe Lopez wasn't thinking clearly after the violent knockdown and his words were, at least in part, induced by the trauma he suffered.

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