Dan Rafael mentioned on last weekend's edition of Friday Night Fights that if Victor Ortiz is successful in his June 23 fight against Josesito Lopez on Showtime, and doesn't take any major punishment, he's a serious candidate to face Canelo Alvarez on September 15, live on pay-per-view from Las Vegas.
Now, a report at BoxingScene.com from NotiFight writers says that Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO) is close to finalizing his opponent for that date, and though the opponent isn't named, Ortiz could be the frontrunner.
"So far the stage and date are firm, and we are very close to securing the opponent," said Chepo [Reynoso, Alvarez's trainer]. "At this point we don't want to confirm anything so we don't affect the [ongoing] negotiations."
Ortiz (29-3-2, 23 KO) is expected to have little trouble with Lopez (29-4, 17 KO), a late replacement opponent for Andre Berto, who was forced out of the fight when he failed a VADA drug test.
Due to Berto previously pulling out of a February date with Ortiz due to injury, "Vicious" Victor hasn't been in the ring since his four-round loss to Floyd Mayweather last September, so the date with Lopez will be as much about getting him back in the ring as anything. They simply couldn't have him sitting out any longer. He has to fight, and Lopez was as good an opponent as they could find with such short notice.
Canelo, of course, is coming off of a beatdown of Shane Mosley on May 5, which sent Mosley into retirement. But unlike Mosley or Kermit Cintron, Ortiz is not washed-up and lacking in danger. A southpaw banger with good skills and big power in both hands, Ortiz would be a huge threat to Canelo's rise.
In short, it's a great matchup, I believe, in basically every way, and could be a Fight of the Year candidate if it comes together. This is one I'm really, really hoping will happen, though it would almost shock me if it actually does. Risks like this one aren't taken too often in boxing, but reality is that GBP is short on potential, PPV-quality opponents for Alvarez on 9/15. With James Kirkland turning it down (twice) and Paul Williams' tragic accident, Ortiz is one of the few available fighters who could make this show a serious attraction. Cross your fingers.