And this is why we fight the fights. Was Lopez as heralded as Berto? No. Did he care? No. He just broke Ortiz' jaw. Why we love boxing. (Hohan)
LOS ANGELES-After a slow start Riverside's Josesito Lopez came rumbling back to beat former world champion Victor “Vicious” Ortiz by technical knockout after the Ventura boxer suffered a broken jaw on Saturday.
Those Lopez uppercuts were vicious.
“I knew I had to fight the fight of my life and I did,” said Lopez.
The former junior welterweight contender Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) moved up to welterweight for the first time and slowly adjusted to the hard punching Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs) before an excited crowd of more than 7,000 at Staples Center. The two Southern Californians were not there to slip punches.
After a slow first two minutes Lopez attacked the body and opened up some lanes for punches to the head. Both traded but it seemed Lopez landed a solid right at the bell in round one.
Ortiz connected with some bombs and looked to end the fight, but Lopez rallied with a right hand that seemed to wobble the Ventura southpaw in round two. From that point on both looked for the knockout, but were still cautious of each other's power.
That ramrod jab of Ortiz' was connecting solidly in round three. When he tried to follow it up, Lopez unleashed a four-punch combination that nearly dropped Ortiz. But the southpaw bomber recovered well.
Ortiz had a rather easy fourth round as he pounded that jab and some lefts through Lopez's guard. Toward the end of the round Lopez unloaded a right uppercut and missed with a left. Ortiz won the round.
The fifth round saw Lopez get hit behind the head illegally by Ortiz and referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight for the illegal infraction. Lopez was allowed several minutes to recover and then the fight resumed with a blur of punches. Each tagged the other with good blows.
“There was no way I was going to quit,” said Lopez about the brief rest needed to recuperate from the illegal punch to the back of the head. “I just needed time but I was never going to quit.”
Ortiz's raw strength was the difference early in the fight. He seemed to land the harder blows but was unable to crack Lopez's resilience. Both got tangled several times with Ortiz tumbling over in round six, but it was not ruled a knockdown.
Several Lopez uppercuts turned things around in round seven. The Riverside fighter motioned for Ortiz to throw some more as he opened up his own attack. Ortiz took the round off.
Round eight saw Lopez use the uppercut perfectly whenever Ortiz decided to attack. Though Lopez scored the harder blows Ortiz used a stiff jab to score points through the three minutes. But it was apparent that Lopez's uppercuts were making Ortiz think.
A huge counter left by Ortiz sparked his attack and he looked to corner Lopez, but the Riverside fighter opened up with a furious combination then motioned for Ortiz to throw some more. Both unleashed more blows with Lopez looking to land that last bomb.
Before round 10 could begin referee Jack Reiss motioned that the fight was over to the shock of the crowd. Many felt beforehand that Lopez was over matched but the ending was clear as the Riverside boxer proved resilient and victorious.
“I have a big heart and I'm a real man,” said Lopez who was battered and bruised. “I had to chop him down. Today was my day.”
Ortiz was seen on the television screen in the locker room after the fight with his head down.
“Yes, Josesito busted my jaw. I had my mouth open and he broke my jaw,” said Ortiz. “It happened early in the round (nine).”
Sitting in the audience was WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who had already agreed to meet Ortiz in September. Now that fight is scuttled and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said he's looking to match Lopez, the little known fighter from Riverside with Mexico's hero Alvarez.
“Lopez fought with all of his heart,” said Schaefer.
Argentina's Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KOs) connected with a three punch combination to knock out Mexico's Humberto “Zorrita” Soto (59-8-2, 35 KOs) at the end of round five to become the number one WBC junior welterweight contender. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight after a left hook and two consecutive rights floored Soto. He beat the count but was unable to continue. Matthysse seemed the stronger fighter after a sub par first round. From then on he slowly broke down Soto and eventually became the first to knock out the sturdy Mexican fighter who was moving up in weight. He had been a lightweight world champion.
“These things happen in boxing, I thought it would be my night, but tonight was not my night. Just a bad night,” said Soto. “I'm not retiring.”
Matthysse was ahead on two of three score cards.
“I felt his punches but I didn't feel them at all. Tonight I was the best man and I deserve the shot at the world title.”
Houston's Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (18-0, 9 KOs) knocked out Denis “Mamma's Boy” Douglin (14-2, 8 KOs) at 1:12 of round five in a junior middleweight fight. Both exchanged vicious blows throughout the contest but a right hand caught southpaw Douglin walking in and it was lights out. The New Jersey boxer tried to get up to beat the count but his legs failed him and was counted out for a knockout by referee Wayne Hedgepeth. Douglin had his moments but Carlo found the right moment to connect with his power right hand.
Omar Figueroa (18-0-1, 15 KOs) knocked out Tijuana's Alain Hernandez (18-11-2, 10 KOs) with several left uppercuts that forced the referee to stop the junior welterweight fight at 1:34 of the first round. Figueroa, who trains in Indio but lives in Weslaco, Texas, was taller, faster and hit a lot harder than Hernandez. A barrage of Figueroa blows snapped Hernandez' head back in the first round and referee Jose Cobian decided to stop the onslaught.
Coachella's Randy Caballero (15-0, 8 KOs) knocked out St. Louis prizefighter Jamal Parram (5-6-1, 4 KOs) at 1:50 of round five. It took Caballero a few rounds to figure out Parram's southpaw style and penchant for holding but once he connected to the body it was over. A Caballero left hook to the liver in round five immediately dropped Parram for the count. He rose and was met with another barrage and took a knee. Parram beat the count and encountered another barrage and took another knee. Referee Jose Cobian decided to stop the junior featherweight fight.
Nevada's Michael Finney (9-0, 7 KOs) slugged it out with Mexico's Joel Vargas (3-7-1, 3 KOs) in a battle of who blinks first. Both traded bombs in a fight where both attempted to prove who was the harder puncher. Defense was not allowed in this back alley brawl. Finney was awarded the decision after four bruising rounds 40-36 on all three judges cards, but Vargas proved his point in the junior middleweight bash. He can brawl.