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Josesito Lopez has the heart of a warrior, a steel will and a very good chin.
Critics say he’ll need all that and more as he goes head to head with redheaded sensation Canelo Alvarez on September 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the main event of “Knockout Kings”: Canelo vs. Lopez.
Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) will be the big underdog once again as he tackles his toughest foe to date in the unbeaten Canelo (40-0-1, 29 KOs). Jose usually fights at the 140 mark; for the Victor Ortiz bout, he moved up in weight. For this Canelo clash, he will again go up in weight.
But the 28-year-old, dubbed the “Riverside Rocky,” is used to being behind the eight ball. Odds stacked against him, he broke Victor Ortiz’s jaw to capture the WBC Silver Welterweight belt while making jaws drop around the world with this shocking upset.
Now he’s got a date with Mexican superstar Canelo on September 15.
Can Lopez exceed expectations a second time around?
During Wednesday’s workout held at the Santa Fe Springs Activity Center, the SoCal boxer went through his workout before calmly and confidently facing more media scrutiny as his marquee matchup nears.
I asked him how he plans on beating Canelo, an enormous favorite in this fight, which is taking place during the Mexican Independence Day weekend.
“I gotta do what I do…I can’t let Canelo do what he does,” Lopez replied. “‘Cause what he does, he does good. He looks good; he is good. BUT mainly because the fighters he’s faced made him–helped him–look good. They haven’t fought back!
“I’m a natural fighter that fights back; I don’t have to try. I hear fighters say, ‘Oh I’m gonna put on a good show!’ Forget the show. I’m gonna fight and luckily the way I fight is everybody’s show. And everyone loves the way I fight.”
Fans will get their chance to see him in action on September 15 in this showdown with 22-year-old Canelo, presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions. This feud will air live on Showtime and is in defense of Canelo’s WBC Super Welterweight Championship.
The Riverside puncher also has some extra motivation to win. His father, Jose, has been in prison (drug transportation) for years and is soon to be released, possibly facing deportation. It has been an emotional time for Josesito but he says he has used these recent developments as added motivation to stun the boxing world again. Seeing his dad for the first time in years, Lopez says the visit added a boost right as he entered training camp. He told me he considers his dad his best friend and they remain extremely close.
While his father pays his time in prison, Josesito has been surrounded by a sturdy corner that will also be in the ring with him on September 15 including his brother Rafael Lopez, his trainer Henry Ramirez, assistant trainer Danny Zamora, cutman “Indian” Willie Schunke, co-promoters Goossen Tutor Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions.
Jose was the very first fighter that Thompson Boxing’s Ken Thompson and Alex Camponovo signed years ago. It has been a long-lasting union that reached its pinnacle in June when Lopez was crowned the new WBC champ.
It has been a long road–at times a rocky road–all leading up to Riverside’s “Rocky” becoming the new star in the sport.
“It was a long road but it was all worth it,” General Manager/Matchmaker Alex Camponovo admits, on the huge opportunities earned by Team Lopez. “Look where he’s at today. A victory against Ortiz that changed his life forever–and now a victory over Canelo will change it even further. It’s very exciting for us; it’s amazing and I know he’s gonna do well!”
The glare of the media spotlight was quickly thrust on Josesito immediately after his Ortiz win with virtually no break leading up to this Canelo war. But the underdog remains unphased and focused on the task at hand.
“I go in there and fight and worry about nothing else except the fight in front of me,” asserts Lopez.
All that remains now is the rumble ahead. When the bell rings, it’s just the two gladiators in that squared circle.
If (and critics/naysayers say this is a big IF) Josesito Lopez dethrones Canelo Alvarez, the sky’s the limit for this young warrior, who grew up in poverty and had to endure his father’s imprisonment when the family needed him the most.
Can lightning strike twice for everyone’s favorite underdog?
“It’s great he’s getting his due,” Ken Thompson remarked as we watched Lopez work out. “Josesito is fast, smart and dangerous. It’s going to be a battle and YES, lightning can strike twice!”
See the sparks fly on September 15–and listen to what Josesito Lopez says in our interview below!
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more.
Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.