A Saturday press conference is in the works for smack-talkers Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi.
Q&A: Lopez set to "shock everyone" against Alvarez
Josesito Lopez on Saul "Canelo" Alvarez: "On paper, this looks like it's going to be a walk in the park for Canelo. But if you've seen me fight, and you know the training that I go through for a fight like this -- especially one of this magnitude -- then you'll know that Canelo is in for a fight."
RingTV.com caught up to Josesito Lopez of Riverside, Calif., who will be involved in the biggest fight of his life against unbeaten junior middleweight titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in a Showtime-televised clash on Sept. 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Lopez (30-4, 18 knockouts) already is coming off the most significant win of his career, an upset, ninth-round TKO over former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs) on June 23.
Lopez vanquished Ortiz at The Staples Center in Los Angeles, breaking his right jaw. As part of an operation tostablize Ortiz's injury, the fighter's mouth was wired shut and both a metal plate and screws have been inserted.
But Lopez will be making his 154-pound debut against Alvarez (40-0-1, 19 KOs), having fought at a career-high 144 and three-quarters pounds against Ortiz when he entered a clash weighing more than 140 pounds for only the eighth time as a professional.
Alvarez, meanwhile, will be making the fifth defense of his WBC belt against Lopez as part of a doubleheader that will open with WBC featherweight beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KOs) pursuing his 13th straight win and his 12th knockout during that run in his fifth defense against former 122-pound titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon (43-4, 35 KOs).
Alvarez is coming off the fourth defense of his belt against ex-titleholder Sugar Shane Mosley, whom he defeated by unanimous decision in May. In vanquishing Mosley, Alvarez ended a winning streak of 21 consecutive bouts against fighters of Mexican decent.
An under-sized and overwhelming underdog heading into the bout with Alvarez, Lopez was chosen over other 154-pound considerations such as IBF beltholder Cornelius Bundrage, WBA "regular" titleholder Austin Trout, hammer-fisted southpaw James Kirkland. and former welterweight beltholder Carlos Quintana.
During this interview with RingTV.com, however, Lopez reminisced about his win over Ortiz and appeared to relish in his renewed role as underdog against Alvarez.
RingTV.com: How has your life changed?
It makes me work even harder. That's something that's going to push me forward. It's definitely something where there are people who have believed in me, possibly more than I have even believed in myself.
That's definitely something that makes me want to work harder to become stronger and faster and better and to be the person that people believe that I can be and that they want me to be.
That's how it works for an underdog, definitely. So any close round is definitely a Victor Ortiz round, so, to me in my eyes, I was down by at least a point going into the ninth and final round.
I hate watching myself make mistakes, and then I especially go over them during training. But I had myself down by a point, and I had to go push harder. I was ready to go the rest of the way.
But I know that the announcers made the fight really exciting, which was the impression I got when I watched the fight the next day.
I definitely felt like, going in, it was anybody's fight. It was a close fight to me and it would have been really interesting to see what the last few rounds would have been like.
RingTV.com: Have you had any contact with Ortiz since the fight?
It's a business and this is what I do. But I'm a nice guy. Outside of the ring, I don't hate anybody and nothing gets to me. So I sent Victor Ortiz a "get-well soon" Tweet, actually. I wish him the best.
Within a week, I was all healed up. What sucks about my body and my face is that I mark up really, really easily. I tend to get red and to swell up a little bit.
But that's just me, and there's really nothing that I can do about it. So I guess as far as the fight, it looked a lot worse than it actually was.
Even though he did connect with some good punches and we did go to war, it really was not that bad. I healed up quite fast and I'm ready to go with whatever comes up next.
I have to really work hard to get there. I have to burn a little muscle just to get down to the 140 division. So it made a big difference.
I go all the way up to 160 or 165 after a big fight, so I walk around that way at all times. When I'm in training, a lot of times, it goes down.
RingTV.com: So did you think you would be at a big disadvantage in weight against Ortiz?
People think that the weight advantage was a big advantage for Victor Ortiz. Looking at it, it might have seemed that way.
But the punching power that somebody has has nothing to do with the size of the arms or the size of the upper body.
And I'm a big, tall guy. I'm not to worried. I mean it's good for people to question my ability to go up to 154. I mean, I understand it. But only I know. I don't blame anybody for questioning that.
Their reasons for doing that are obvious. I've been fighting at 140 for most of my career. But the people in my camp and the people who know me, the members of my team, they know my potential.
They know that the weight is the least of issues in my situation. The talent that Canelo has is a far bigger issue than his weight.
But just like we saw things that we knew we could be effective against in Victor Ortiz, we see the same thing with Canelo. We definitely see things that we can work on that will allow us to be effective against Canelo.
I think that just being a smart overall fighter can be very, very beneficial for us when we get in there to fight Canelo.
On paper, this looks like it's going to be a walk in the park for Canelo. But if you've seen me fight, and you know the training that I go through for a fight like this -- especially one of this magnitude -- then you'll know that Canelo is in for a fight.
I mean, he's in for a real fight. I know that going into this, there are only a handful of people who believe in me. But those are the same handful of people that believed in me before I fought Victor Ortiz. Those are the only handful of people that I really need to believe in me.
As long as I have that group behind me, I'm going to go in there with the same belief in myself that I had when I faced Victor Ortiz. Victor Ortiz is a fighter who was supposed to blow me out of the ring a couple of weeks ago.
But I shocked everyone. And I'm going to shock everyone again. This 140-pounder is going to give Canelo Alvarez the fight of his life.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org