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Josesito Lopez: Rebirth or Bust

josesito-lopez- tom casino
Photo by Tom Casino

Josesito Lopez, (31-6-1, 18 KOs) will begin training in the next few weeks for the upcoming 2014 year. Is this strong-hearted warrior destined for rebirth or will he bust?

Lopez—affectionately known to many as “The Riverside Rocky”—is famous for his jaw breaking performance against Victor Ortiz on June 23, 2012.

On that night, Lopez landed a flush left hook to the jaw of Ortiz in the ninth round that resulted in an early stoppage. The shocking victory immediately placed Lopez in the top tier of world champion contenders.

On September 15, 2012, Lopez got his shot at a world title and took on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who at the time of the fight was 41-0-1, 29 KOs.

The challenge proved to be too big for Lopez, who lost the bout in the fifth round by way of TKO.

Despite the loss, Lopez was given a shot at redemption when he matched up against Marcos “El Chino” Maidana for the WBA International Welterweight title on June 8, 2013.

The two men gave boxing fans nothing less than an explosive performance and a candidate for fight of the year.

Lopez was able to deliver a crisp left hook in the fourth round with a combination of punches which made Maidana touch the canvas, however the referee ruled that Maidana slipped.

But what appeared to be a possible upset in the making for Lopez changed in just a matter of seconds.

In the sixth round, Maidana landed a straight right hand sending Lopez to the canvas. Although Lopez was able to beat the count, the referee stopped the fight moments later after Maidana pinned Lopez in the corner with a series of combinations.

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Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

This particular fight changed a series of events for both fighters. Maidana went on to face Adrien “The ProblemBroner in a mega-event and upset in December.

Although Lopez could have very well been the one matched for this event, his loss to Maidana paved a different road.

On December 13, 2013 Lopez headlined his return to the ring in Indio, California against Mike Aranoutis. Lopez appeared to be missing something during this bout.

His timing and precision were just not what the fans were used to seeing.

Lopez was able to pull off a victory against Aranoutis after the fight was stopped in the eighth round due to an accidental head butt. During the post-fight interview Lopez too admitted that he did not give his best performance, also citing an injury to his hand that he sustained during the fight.

After the wild series of events during his last three fights, where does that leave Lopez standing?

Many will argue that Lopez had his one true moment of fame during his bout with Ortiz–calling the rest simply a fluke.

On the other hand there are plenty who will argue that his loss to Maidana was a premature stoppage and stand by Lopez as the real deal and a worthy upper bracket contender. One thing that goes without a doubt is that the majority of boxing fans truly respect the heart and dedication of Lopez.

A recent statement on Twitter by Hugo Basilotta–who is affiliated with the Marcos Maidana camp–talked of information surfacing that Lopez may soon fight Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse, however no date or weight class was provided.

Lucas Matthysse - Josesito Lopez
Photo edit by John Garita/Round By Round Boxing

Round By Round Boxing was able to speak with Henry Ramirez–Lopez’s trainer–regarding his immediate plans in boxing.

“Well, we’re probably going to put him in another tune-up type fight in March and then in June or July put him in something meaningful.”

Ramirez stated that at this time no names for a potential opponent have been selected for this upcoming March. Josesito is slotted to return to the gym for training within the next ten days and at that time the issue will be addressed.

Ramirez told Round By Round Boxing that Lopez’s hand–which he injured against Arnaoutis–is in good condition. The disclosed injury from Lopez during that fight was just usual nicks and bruises of a fight.

When asked about Basilotta’s tweet or any word on a matchup with Matthysee, Ramirez stated, “Must be rumors because it’s never been mentioned to us. I’ve heard this one other time about a month ago, but as far as to us–myself or Josesito–I mean Al Haymon has never mentioned the name to us, so I don’t know. I speak to Al regularly, multiple times a week and that’s never been mentioned even as a possibility.”

Ramirez concluded that Lopez will fight anybody, however was firm that the Lopez camp will not deviate from their plan. Ramirez reasserted that the plan is to place Lopez in a “tune-up type fight” in March of 2014.

With six loses under the belt of Lopez, it is understandable why his preparation must come with clear thought. A loss against a smaller caliber fighter may just bust Lopez permanently into a one hit wonder.

It would be fair to say that no matter what opponent is placed in front of Lopez, they are going to be facing a fierce battle.

Will the heavy hitting left hook of Lopez land him in the spotlight once again? Boxing fans can rest assure that regardless of the outcome, we have not seen the last of Josesito Lopez or his search for a world title.

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