You can’t help but admire Josesito Lopez. His heart is three times bigger than his skinny body. The Riverside, California native is a throwback. He’ll accept any challenge, regardless of the odds.
His biggest challenge will transpire on September 15 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) will be facing heavily favored WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Being the underdog is nothing new for Lopez. His victory over Victor Ortiz last June catapulted the modest 28-year-old into a modern day Rocky Balboa.
Until the Ortiz fight, Lopez’s boxing career resembled a treadmill. He was up after his knockout victory over talented Michael Dallas, but down after losing a close decision to hotshot Jessie Vargas.
The loss cooled Lopez’s career momentum.
That is, until fate intervened.
Ortiz needed an opponent. His rematch with Andre Berto was in tatters after Berto failed a drug test. Lopez had seen his own fight with Kendal Holt fall through the cracks. So, when Golden Boy called, asking Lopez if he wanted to face Ortiz for a piece of the welterweight title, Lopez jumped at the opportunity. The winner (everyone assumed it would be Ortiz) would face Alvarez in September.
The fight, held at The Staples Center in Los Angeles, was a bloodbath from the third round on. Ortiz was ahead on the scorecards when he quit on his stool after the ninth round with a broken jaw. Lopez, who felt disrespected before the fight, had ignored his swollen eyes and bloody nose. His victory was one for the ages.
“Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) won the WBC super middleweight title in 2011 when he defeated Matthew Hatton. Victories over Ryan Rhodes, Alfonzo Gomez, Kermit Clinton, and Shane Mosley have followed. The criticism of Lopez as Alvarez’s opponent feels unfounded. Golden Boy Promotions tried to match-up Alvarez with a worthwhile opponent. Unfortunately, none of bouts came to fruition. Paul Williams’ tragic motorcycle accident ended the career of the former welterweight champion. Contender James Kirkland wanted too much money, and Lopez upset Ortiz. Alvarez, 22, can be criticized for being matched with fighters on the way down like Carlos Baldomir, Cintron, and Mosley. Still, the young boxer is loaded with talent and power in both hands.
As for the fight, the size difference can’t be ignored. Alvarez is thicker and stronger. His weight advantage could be as much as 20 pounds on fight night. The bout should be competitive in the early going. Lopez will give as good as he gets. The harder punching Alvarez will begin to wear him down. Lopez won’t quit, but a late victory for Alvarez looks unavoidable.
The Canelo Alvarez versus Josesito Lopez bout can be seen on Showtime beginning at 6PM PT/ 9PM ET.