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Lopez upsets Ortiz

Ringside by Francisco Salazar and Rocco Morales
Photos by “Big” Joe Miranda

In the eyes of Josesito Lopez, everything about his scheduled 12 round welterweight bout against Victor Ortiz on Saturday night was stacked against him.

The perception that Lopez would not withstand Ortiz’s power, the media paying more attention to Ortiz’s September showdown against super welterweight world title holder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and a pro-Ortiz crowd during the fight were some of the factors Lopez dealt with.

While it would have been admirable to assume Lopez would earn a moral victory for lasting 12 rounds against Ortiz and earn a good payday, Lopez was more optimistic than people gave him credit for. Optimistic enough to shock the boxing world and win the biggest fight of his career.

Lopez pulled off an improbable upset victory, earning a stoppage victory when Ortiz did not answer the bell prior to the start of the 10th round before a surprised crowd of 7,865 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA.

The bout headlined a six-bout card presented by Golden Boy Promotions, in association with Goossen Tutor and Thompson Boxing Promotions.

Lopez was not even considered an opponent for Ortiz until just six weeks ago. At the time, Ortiz was scheduled to take on Andre Berto in a rematch of their thrilling 12 round bout back in April of last year.

The reason Lopez was offered the fight against Ortiz was because Andre Berto allegedly tested positive of a banned substance, prompting Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Ortiz, to seek another opponent.

Lopez took the fight against Ortiz on May 19th.

During the buildup of the Ortiz-Lopez fight, Golden Boy Promotions announced a few weeks ago that Ortiz would fight Alvarez on September 15th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Lopez stated that he felt disrespected by the announcement, but added that the announcement of Alvarez-Lopez gave him more motivation during training camp.

Ironically, Ortiz and Lopez fought on the same card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 17th. Ortiz lost by knockout to Floyd Mayweather in the fourth round that was publicized more because of the ending of the fight. Lopez lost a disputed 10 round split decision to unbeaten welterweight Jessie Vargas.

Both fought to their strengths from the opening bell. The southpaw Ortiz landed the stronger punches, especially left crosses and right hooks to the head. Lopez did well to land straight right hands to the head, the punch that give most southpaw fighters fits.

Ortiz did well by mixing in shots to the body as well in the fourth round as Lopez looked to counter with more right hands to the head.

Ortiz looked as though he stunned Lopez momentarily with an uppercut early in the fifth round. Moments later during an exchange, Ortiz threw and landed a punch to the back of Lopez’s head. Lopez went down to his knees, wincing from the pain felt by the impact of the punch.

“I needed time to recover,” said Lopez after the fight. “I never thought about quitting at that point.”

It was also in the fifth round that Ortiz claimed his jaw was broken from a punch by Lopez.

“I had my mouth open and he busted my jaw (with a punch),” said Ortiz, before being rushed out of the ring and taken to nearby California Hospital. “I couldn’t close my mouth.”

Unbeknownst to the media and the crowd, Ortiz fought on, winning the sixth. However, Lopez had a big seventh round, connecting with power shots to the head of Ortiz.

As the bout progressed and with Lopez increasing his punch output that allowed him to connect more, the crowd began to chant his name. Lopez did better on the inside in the later rounds, even though Ortiz remained active and connected his share of punches. Although there were good exchanges between the two in the ninth, Lopez again did well, countering Ortiz with right crosses to the head.

Before the start of the 10th round, Ortiz told referee Jack Reiss that he did not want to continue because of the injury he suffered to his jaw, although it looked as though his corner wanted him to continue. Amidst the chaos in the moments Reiss waved the fight over, Lopez celebrated in the ring with his corner.

“He tried to intimidate me, but I was not going to be intimidated by anything,” said Lopez, who won the WBC silver welterweight title with the victory. “I knew that I had to fight the fight of my life. I knew it was close on the scorecards, but I told you guys (media) that I was going to shock the world.”

In a parting shot at Ortiz, Lopez said, “Victor has no heart.”

At the conclusion of the ninth round, Ortiz was up on the official scorecards, 88-83, 87-84, and 86-85. Fightnews.com had Ortiz winning the fight 86-85 at that point.

The question remains whether a rematch occurs again between Lopez and Ortiz. Thompson Boxing Promotions General Manager/ matchmaker Alex Camponovo told Fightnews.com that Lopez could remain at 147 pounds or drop down to 140.

Ortiz has lost his last two bouts and conjured up memories of when he lost to Marcos Maidana almost three years to the day, ironically at STAPLES Center.

Lopez, from Riverside, CA, improves to 30-4, 18 KOs, while Ortiz, from Ventura, CA, falls to 29-4-2, 22 KOs. -FS

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Matthyse stops Soto

In semi main event action, junior welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KOs) scored a fifth round TKO over multi-division former world champion Humberto Soto (58-8-2, 34 KOs). Soto was boxing well in the early rounds and won the early rounds by way of effective counterpunching. Matthysse, however, continued to walk down and stalk Soto, and finally caught him with a vicious combination towards the end of the fifth round. With a hard left hook to the head followed by a right cross to the head from Matthysse, Soto stumbled backwards halfway across the ring, bounced off the ropes and was met on the richochet by a crushing right cross from Matthysse. Although Soto would rise at the count of seven and the bell would sound to end the round, the corner of Soto advised the referee, Raul Caiz Sr., that he was in no shape to continue and, consequently, the bout was waved off following round 5.

Time of the stoppage was 3:00 of the fifth round and with the victory, Matthysse wins the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Lightweight Title / WBC Super Lightweight Title Eliminator which, thus, makes him the mandatory challenger for WBC Super Lightweight titlist, Danny Garcia. Garcia, however, may just be keeping the belt warm, as he is slated to face former world light welterweight titlist, Amir Khan, on July 14th.

Soto, although just 31 years old, was fighting for the 69th time of his storied multiple division / multiple world championship career but appears to be an old 31 years old and may face a tough time rebounding from the first knockdown and first knockout of his career. Meanwhile, Matthysse, after frustrating split decision losses to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah, wins the biggest fight of his career and now becomes an immediate player in the super lightweight division. - RM

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Charlo stops Douglin with one punch

In a fight featuring two of the top super welterweight prospects, Jermell Charlo scored a one-punch knockout over Denis Douglin in the fifth round of a scheduled 10 round bout.

Charlo controlled the first two rounds of the fight, throwing and landing right hands to the head of the southpaw Douglin. In the third round, Douglin took the initiative, throwing and landing at a high rate.

In the fourth round, Charlo controlled the round by dictating the pace. In the fifth, Charlo threw and landed a counter right hand to the head that dropped Douglin onto his back. Douglin struggled to get up and once he did, staggered across the ring. The ring ropes held him up, but referee Wayne Hedgepeth saw enough and stopped the bout at 1:12.

Charlo, from Houston, TX, improves to 18-0, 9 KOs, while Douglin, from Marlboro, NJ, drops to 14-2, 8 KOs.-FS

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Figueroa overwhelms Hernandez

Hard-hitting lightweight Omar Figueroa stopped Alain Hernandez in the first round of a scheduled eight round bout.

Prior to Saturday night, Figueroa fought three weeks prior on June 2nd, knocking out Tyler Ziolkowski in the first round. Against Hernandez, Figueroa picked up where he left off, going on the offensive and backing up his opponent. Figueroa pinned Hernandez against the ropes and rained down an abundant amount of hard punches to the head and body. A combination almost dropped Hernandez, but referee Jose Cobian saw enough and waved the fight over at 1:34.

Figueroa, from Weslaco, TX, goes to 18-0-1, 15 KOs. Hernández, from Tijuana, Baja California, México, falls to 18-11-2, 10 KOs. -FS

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Caballero stops overmatched Parram

Junior featherweight Randy Caballero stopped Jamal Parram in the fifth round of a scheduled eight round bout.

The faster Caballero pressed the action from the start, moving forward and utilizing his speed to outpunch the southpaw Parram. However, a majority of the fight was marred by clenching by Parram, who looked to counter with one punch as he would back up. Parram would connect on occasion with a right hook or left hand, which shows Caballero still needs to work on defense, but was not fazed or hurt from Parram’s punches.

Caballero began to attack the body of Parram in the fourth round, putting Parram on the defensive as the body punches began to take their toll. In the fifth round, Caballero landed a left hook to the body that dropped Parram to a knee. Parram stood up and was dropped again by another punch to the body.

After Parram stood up a second time, he tried to fight back, but had nothing on his punches. Moments later, Caballero landed two punches to the stomach. Parram back up a few steps and took a knee for the third time. Referee Jose Cobian saw enough and waved the fight over at 1:50.

Although Caballero got the stoppage victory and displays above-average skills, he did so against an overmatched opponent and would be better served facing stronger opposition.

Caballero, from Coachella, CA, goes to 15-0, 8 KOs. Parram, from St. Louis, MO, falls to 5-6-1, 4 KOs.-FS

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Finney decisions Vargas

Junior middleweight Michael Finney won a hard fought four round unanimous decision over Joel Vargas. All three judges scored the bout 40-36, although the fight was much closer than the scores would indicate. Finney (9-0, 7 KOs) was the stronger and effective puncher, but Vargas (3-7-1, 3 KOs) held his ground, landing his share of punches and looked to be anything but a 3-7-1 fighter. Finney, trained by Robert Garcia, has just one win over an opponent with a winning record and appears to need some more schooling in the gym before he takes a further step up in competition if he is going to keep his unblemished record intact. - RM

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Ringside Notes

- Unbeaten super welterweight world title holder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, junior welterweight contender Amir Khan, welterweight world title holder Paul Malignaggi, welterweight contender Marcos Maidana, junior lightweight contender Vicente Escobedo, featherweight contender Daniel Ponce De Leon, actor Jack Nicholson, and Los Angeles Laker Metta World Peace were some of the fighters and celebrities who watched the action from ringside.

- Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein called the action from ringside for Showtime.

- Ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. was the ring announcer for the televised portion of the card, while Joe Martinez handled the ring announcing duties on the non-televised card.

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2011 by Fightnews.com.