Josesito Lopez will be back in action tonight on a special Thursday night edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights, as he tries to work his way back to the top of the sport against Aron Martinez in Rancho Mirage, California.
Lopez (31-6, 18 KO) made headlines two years ago with an upset win over Victor Ortiz, breaking the jaw of a man who had just fought Floyd Mayweather. That win became a bit of a mixed bag. It led Lopez to a money fight with Canelo Alvarez, but it was also one where he was grossly overmatched physically fighting at 154 pounds. That loss -- a valiant if totally fruitless effort -- led to a bout with Marcos Maidana.
Once again, Lopez lost, but he was competitive in doing so. Last December, after just a six month break following the two brutal fights, he was back, beating Mike Arnaoutis. Tonight, he takes another step back toward the bigger fights, at least if he wins.
Lopez, 29, believes his action style and guts still make him an attractive TV fighter. From the Desert Sun:
"I've gotten a lot of exposure the last few fights and they like what they see. They like not only the fighter they see, but the story of how I've climbed up the ranks. I'm a true warrior, a fighter, and I give everyone a show. They like the way I fight and I know I still have to work hard."
The fighter also says he feels a bit strange fighting as a favorite:
"It's a little weird. Myself, I feel like the underdog in general. It was the way I was brought up, how I went up the boxing ranks. Never underestimate anyone. I know what they want, I know that feeling, and I know what their goal is. They want to chop my head off. I just want to win, no matter what it is. I want to get to the winning and stay on the main stage."
With an impressive win tonight, Lopez could soon find himself right back on Showtime. There are plenty of fighters at 140 and 147 that would love to get a fight with Lopez, in part because he's well-known, and in part because he may be considered vulnerable, or even damaged goods.
Does Lopez have another run toward the top in him, especially now that he's looking to fight at 140 pounds?