(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — The World Boxing Organization has sent a letter to former WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez asking the fighter to explain why he believes he should not be suspended for one year for his gambling rant against referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. after his technical knockout loss to WBO champion Orlando Salido Saturday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Salido knocked Lopez down in the 10th round, and after the fight, Lopez, still appearing dazed from a brutal ninth round, said he believed Ramirez stopped the fight, and that his son, Roberto Ramirez Jr. , stopped his first fight against Salido because both men have gambling problems.
“In the first fight, his son stopped it,” Lopez told Showtime’s Jim Gray. “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.”
On Sunday, Lopez apologized in a statement.
“For my part, I apologize to Roberto for comments I had made after the fight with Salido,” Lopez said in a statement released by PR Best Boxing Promotions. “Roberto is one of the best referees in the world. He did a great job, and I appreciate that I was protected because I was definitely hurt.
“Maybe, in my frustration for failing my country, I said things that right now I don’t remember. And I want to delete. And again, I want to thank Roberto for his work.”
In its letter to Lopez, the WBO said, “The WBO World Championship Committee considers that the behavior and statements made by you during the interview held after your WBO Featherweight title against Champion Orlando Salido, were totally lacking sportsmanship.
“The sense of the Championship Committee is that your conduct in making those comments warrants a one year suspension for your severe unsportsmanlike behavior. Please be advised that you have five days (Until Friday at 1 p.m. ET) to show just cause why this action should not be taken.”
PR Best president Peter Rivera said on Monday, through Top Rank spokesman Lee Samuels, that they plan to appeal the suspension on behalf of Lopez.