Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez and Andre Berto have each made a career of making fans squirm and turn whenever they step in the ring. Few others can match what they have been able to do: that’s fill people into seats.
Former world champion Berto (29-3, 22 Kos) meets Riverside’s Lopez (33-6, 19 Kos) at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. It’s just a few miles from the slim fighter’s home and also features former champion Shawn Porter (24-1-1, 15 Kos) against TBD, rumored to be Erick Bone of Ecuador.
Spike TV will televise at 6 p.m.
Welterweights collide in this fight card.
Berto has been “hard luck Charley” the past few years with injuries and suspensions keeping the ultra-athletic prizefighter from reaching expectations. Several years ago many expected him to be the next Sugar Shane Mosley.
“If you ever watched me and all this s**t I’ve been through you won’t have no choice but to be a different man. Being in the situation of injuries here and there, tearing my shoulder in second round against (Jesus) Soto-Karass, I thought my career was going to be over,” said Berto during a telephone conference call. “I really had to learn how to use my right hand my right arm all over again. It took me a year and half.”
A return to the ring last September in Cincinnati helped Berto test the shoulder. It was also his first win since 2011. That was a big drought for the talented Berto, who despite the setbacks always inspired crowds to the arena whenever he fights.
“When a man doesn’t have any choice but to stay focused, you don’t have no choice to be a different man a different animal,” said Berto, who admitted he depended too much on his athleticism rather than skills.
Now Berto trains with Northern California’s Virgil Hunter, who also trains Andre Ward and Amir Khan among others.
“The thing we have with Virgil Hunter, he is ridiculously technical,” said Berto. “We work on a lot of different situations that come up in the ring.”
Lopez does not depend on boxing skills, he runs on a nonstop energy battery that seems to recharge when the going gets tough. Against Marcos Maidana, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Victor Ortiz the world saw that Lopez has that extra ingredient that can’t be taught.
“I don’t quit,” said Lopez, who defeated Ortiz, who defeated Berto. But boxing doesn’t work that way. It’s not logical. But fans flock to see both of these fighters because of their aggressive styles.
“When I look back, it’s been a long road. I’ve been pro coming up past 11 plus years. I’m definitely more of a vet in the game,” said Lopez, whose first pro fight took place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. “I think I’ve had the hard, tough road. It’s actually helped me a lot. I’m thankful I’ve had losses to get me where I am.”
The war that saw Lopez and Maidana trade bombs could have swung either way, early on especially when the Argentine buckled from a body shot. Later on a left hook wobbled Maidana but he fought his way out of the hole. When Lopez was caught with a blow and downed, he felt he was fresh and ready to go and was able to slip blows from Maidana. The referee didn’t see it that way and Maidana went on to face Floyd Mayweather in two memorable fights.
It could have been Lopez.
Lopez has a natural penchant for violence as does Berto. Fans are in for a treat.
“Everyone that sees me fight or Lopez fight, or on the street, we’re going to go in and put these fireworks on,” promises Berto.
I can believe that.
Former IBF welterweight titlist Shawn Porter was set to face Roberto Garcia who was unable to make weight at 147. That fight has been put in limbo.
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