LOS ANGELES-Across the street from Union Station a crowd gathered to disrupt the finely tuned downtown Los Angeles traffic that arrived to see the commotion caused by Mexico’s sensation Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Riverside’s Josesito Lopez on Tuesday.
People packed the barricades surrounding the makeshift stage Golden Boy Promotions erected.
The L.A.-based promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer explained why Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) is the next opponent for the undefeated Canelo (40-0-1, 29 KOs) on Sept. 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Showtime will televise the world title fight and three others of the fight card called Knockout Kings.
“I told Canelo to not underestimate Josesito Lopez,” said Schaefer before the conference began. “Josesito is a dangerous fighter.”
You couldn’t tell based on the crowd who mostly cheered and supported Canelo every time his name was mentioned. Lopez did have a few supporters too.
Lopez quieted the crowd once he spoke in Spanish. Many of those present at the public press conference seemed surprised that the Riverside prizefighter is fluent in Spanish. He is also fluent in English.
“I just have to train my hardest,” said Lopez. “It’s a heavier weight class but I’m going to bring my best.”
Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, who trains Canelo, said that he witnessed the Lopez and Victor Ortiz fight and that the Riverside boxer deserves to enter the ring against his fighter.
“He raised his hand to fight Victor Ortiz and now he’s raised his hand to fight Canelo,” said Reynoso. “Besides, there will be two Mexicans in the ring and you know what that means.”
Canelo’s promoter Golden Boy Promotions had promised the redhead that he would fight on Mexican Independence Day. They’re fulfilling their promise despite Top Rank setting the same date for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Argentina’s Sergio Martinez pay-per-view date. The Golden Boy show will not be pay-per-view but on regular Showtime.
“We’ll see who has more viewers that day,” Schaefer said.
Three other top fights will take place, with Marcos Maidana in a welterweight match against Mexico’s Jesus Soto Karass; WBC featherweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez fighting Daniel Ponce De Leon and several other match ups.
“I like fighting chingons,” said Maidana, about facing Soto Karass.
Ponce De Leon said he’s been waiting patiently for a world title fight for many years and is happy the day will arrive.
“I was the number one contender for different organizations but never got the title opportunity,” said Ponce De Leon who faces Gonzalez. “Jhonny Gonzalez is a good rival.”
The main focus will be on Canelo defending the WBC junior middleweight title. Can Lopez slip the rug from another former or current world champion?
“People can say he’s just a welterweight and people can say he never fought in the big stage, but do you remember when I fought Manny Pacquiao and look at what he did to me, he destroyed me,” said De La Hoya bluntly to the large crowd. “Inside that squared circle you never know what’s going to happen…Josesito Lopez has the desire and the heart, he is living that Rocky moment.”
Canelo always looks calm but seemed even more serious about facing Lopez.
“I’m very happy with this fight. Josesito Lopez earned his shot,” said Alvarez. “I’m not going to be too confident, because I know there is no rival that is too small. I’m going to train very hard for this fight.”
De La Hoya also added an Ultimate Fighting Championship touch with an announcement that the best knockout of the night by a fighter will be rewarded with an extra $100,000.
The winner will be voted by the fans on AT&T phones.
Tickets for the MGM begin at $25 and stop at $400.