Josesito Lopez was supposed to be a stepping stone for Victor Ortiz, and now he's supposed to be a stepping stone for Canelo Alvarez. He hopes to change everyone's plans once again. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Canelo Alvarez supposedly already has his next date all lined up. Should he be successful as most expect against Josesito Lopez on September 15, he and Golden Boy Promotions are said to be targeting a December 8 return to the ring.
Lopez, of course, has been in this exact same position just recently. When he fought Victor Ortiz in June, he was expected to lose, which would have sent Ortiz into this fight with Canelo. Instead, Lopez pulled off a leading candidate for Upset of the Year, breaking Ortiz's jaw and stopping him after nine rounds.
The fighter says he found it disrespectful for Golden Boy to hype and announce the Canelo-Ortiz fight, and he's feeling the same way right now:
"Why can’t they wait a week or two until after my fight? But it’s OK because it gives me more motivation and it will make winning the fight even sweeter."
Lopez (30-4, 18 KO) was just one year ago a junior welterweight fringe contender -- you could even say an also-ran -- for whom the sky was hardly the limit. He was not expected to break through, wasn't expected to fight Victor Ortiz any time soon, and sure as hell didn't figure to jump two divisions over two straight fights, winning a minor title at 147 and now challenging for a world title at 154.
I keep saying this, I know, but I just become more and more intrigued by this fight, and it's all Josesito Lopez. He's truly fearless, and he's not just saying that. There is a confidence to him that is hard to find. It's as if the win over Ortiz validated every thought he ever might have had about himself. For years, no doubt, Lopez believed he had that world title level in him. But he lost a few fights. He wasn't backed by a power promoter. He wasn't some blue chip, protected prospect.
He also scored some good wins, though, and beating Victor Ortiz must have told him that, yes, indeed, he has big talent.
But I still can't help but wonder if Canelo Alvarez, a rock-solid, genuine junior middleweight, is a bridge too far. Lopez says the weight won't be an issue. It might be, though.
For whatever it's worth, he says that he won't approach Alvarez the way past opponents have:
"I can’t let him do what he does because he’s good at it. But the fighters he’s faced have helped him look good. They all talked about putting on a good show before they fought Canelo. Forget the show! Just fight him! I’m a natural fighter. Fighting back is what I do, and thankfully, my style is one that fans want to see."
I don't know if Lopez can win this fight. My gut feeling is that he won't be able to do it. But more and more, I expect him to rattle Canelo's cage a little bit at the least, to give him a few good looks in the fight. And even if he doesn't come out with another shocker W on September 15, I get the feeling that Josesito Lopez will be hanging around in contention for a while, and that he's going to be a true fan favorite, as well.