Inside the dark boxing gym located on a Riverside hillside Josesito Lopez was busy hitting the speed bag when informed that Golden Boy Promotions had announced Victor Ortiz will be fighting Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September.
“Oh, really,” said Lopez very calmly and continued his training.
First, Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs) and Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) have a date on Saturday, June 23, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The fight card is co-promoted by Golden Boy and Goossen-Tutor Promotions along with Thompson Boxing Promotions.
Whether the announcement was made to spark ticket sales or to beat Top Rank to the punch in securing the Las Vegas fight date on Sept. 15, what matters is that all could be jeopardized if Ortiz loses to the vastly under rated Lopez.
It could happen. Lopez is one of the many dangerous prizefighters coming out of the Inland Empire where more than 30 boxing gyms are producing quality fighters at a rapid rate. Think Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera or youngster Randy Caballero.
They’re all very dangerous.
Lopez is a lean hard fighting boxer-puncher out of Riverside who began his boxing career at 130 pounds. Though he stands one inch under six feet the lanky boxer has never suffered a beating. Even in defeat those who got the victory walked away more injured than he.
“I don’t blame Victor Ortiz,” says Lopez about the premature announcement. “I blame the promoters. It’s disrespectful.”
Lopez lost his last match to Jesse Vargas , a fighter with a similar style. It was a nip and tuck struggle that saw Vargas switch modes and win by boxing and moving. Both fighters felt they deserved the win and that’s the way any close fight usually ends. Both boxers thinking they were the winner.
Golden Boy chose Lopez because of that performance when they needed to replace Andre Berto, who failed a drug test for PEDs.
“You earned it. Your fight was entertaining to the fight fans,” said Golden Boy’s Robert Diaz to Lopez during the conference call on Wednesday. “We’re confident in Victor.”
Confidence comes from Ortiz’s showing a year ago against Berto who held the WBC welterweight title at the time. In a thrilling battle the Ventura prizefighter put on the best performance of his life at the proper time. Even the loss to Floyd Mayweather last year could not diminish his stature.
“The only pressure I have is Josesito because he’s not a walk in the park.
It’s definitely a great experience once again,” said Ortiz. “Just knowing I’m going up against great opposition makes me work that much harder.”
Lopez was told that Golden Boy might consider inserting Lopez should he beat Ortiz in their confrontation next week. It was the first time he heard of the somewhat offer.
“The motivation for me is to beat Victor Ortiz. That’s all. I don’t even think one hour past June 23. I don’t care about any other dates or any other time. Nothing else matters,” said Lopez.
Dan Goossen, president of Goossen-Tutor, says an upset is very possible.
“Josesito (Lopez) is much stronger at this weight,” Goossen said.
Ortiz shunned all questions regarding Canelo Alvarez.
“There are no thoughts of me fighting Canelo. As of right now there is only one guy that I want and that’s Josesito,” said Ortiz. “Lopez is a good fighter. He and Berto go hand in hand, I can’t ease up. I guess the difference is Josesito is not on roids.”
Mexico’s rugged Humberto Soto (58-7-2, 34 KOs) and Argentina’s knockout punching Lucas Matthysse (30-2, 28 KOs) battle in a junior welterweight match set for 12 rounds in the semi main event at Staples.
“He’s going to come for war and were very happy because were going to give him war,” said Matthysse.
Soto simply shrugs at the prospect of a shoot out.
“There is no doubt he is a strong opponent and goes forward. I have a lot of experience and I’ll adjust to get the victory,” Soto said.
Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com.