Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez Could Face Fellow Riverside Welters

Can you imagine a welterweight showdown between Riverside welterweights?

In just one day Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez fights Shawn Gallegos in a welterweight contest in Las Vegas. For the second time the hard-fighting and always exciting prizefighter meets a solid but lesser known opponent.

It may be the last time that happens.

Lopez fights Gallegos on Thursday, Sept. 11 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino but there’s talk of a match with England’s Amir “King” Khan later this year. And if that doesn’t go, a couple of fellow Riverside prizefighters like Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera or former champion Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley could emerge as candidates quite nicely. A fourth welterweight Artemio Reyes Jr. could also be added.

The quartet of welterweights resides in Riverside County and each is very familiar with the other.

Herrera trains within eyesight of Lopez’s gym a few miles away. Both are located on separate hillsides in the western end of Riverside. They have kept a careful eye on each other with Herrera engaging in sparring with the speedy Bradley years ago.

“Tim said we couldn’t spar anymore because he could see us fighting each other down the road,” said Herrera, who last fought and defeated Venezuela’s Johan Perez this past July. Previously, he nearly dethroned junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico this past March 15. He’s been chasing Garcia ever since.

“We could make that fight,” said Herrera, who was the first to defeat Ruslan Provodnikov in one of the top fights of 2011. He then proceeded to meet Mike Alvarado in another blazing battle in Las Vegas. Fans finally realized his talent and Golden Boy Promotions recently signed the boxer to a contract.

When Herrera fought Garcia, the Puerto Rican from Philly was surprised by the Riverside welterweight’s boxing ability. Jabs kept coming and Herrera proved too elusive for Garcia. After 12 rounds most of the world watching on television and those in the arena thought Herrera was the clear cut winner.

Like one famous trainer said: “You got to knock out a Puerto Rican to win a draw in Puerto Rico.” Not necessarily, but you get the picture.

A fight with Lopez has long been a dream of Herrera’s. He can envision a sold out crowd in a local arena. Herrera is hard to hit and is deadly accurate with the jab. Lopez has an awkward style and punches effectively from different angles.

“A lot of people would be interested in that fight,” said Herrera.

Bradley is another fighter in the mix of welterweights. The former WBO welterweight has only one loss in his career and looking to regain his footing at the top of the welterweight totem pole. Speed and the ability to adapt are Bradley’s main assets. Reyes has height and power from both sides with those long and lean arms, and shares trainer Joel Diaz.

Those two would probably never meet each other in the ring but a match with Herrera is a strong possibility. A match with Lopez could also materialize.

Ironically, all four were once part of the Thompson Boxing Promotions team at one time. A round-robin tournament featuring all four welterweights could be very interesting. Reyes and Lopez both remain with the Orange County-based promotion company. Lopez also signed with Al Haymon and is co-promoted by Goossen-Tutor and Golden Boy Promotions.

Meanwhile, Lopez has to survive another welterweight clash against a fighter that has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Last April, Lopez defeated another talented welterweight in Aron Martinez. Like Gallegos, East L.A.’s Martinez had nothing to lose. Sometimes those are the toughest fights. Just ask Danny Garcia who had so much trouble with Herrera.

Riverside County’s quartet of welterweights could very easily make a round-robin tournament that fans would love to see.

Bradley, Herrera, Reyes and Lopez against each other would make any boxing fan salivate.

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