By Chris Robinson
Later tonight, former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz was scheduled to do battle with his rival Andre Berto in a rematch to their thrilling April 2011 battle. Ortiz won that fight after twelve furious rounds, surviving two knockdowns in the process, and there was much interest in the rematch.
Their second go-round was originally scheduled for February 11th but had to be pushed back after Berto ruptured his left bicep less than two weeks before the bout. Then, last month, the fight was scrapped completely after Berto was found to have traces of nandrolone, an illegal substance, in his system.
Riverside, California’s Josesito Lopez would receive the call to fill in as an opponent for Ortiz and despite not possessing as much name value as someone like Berto, Lopez is proving to be an intriguing replacement.
That fact was further evidence during Friday’s weigh-in in Los Angeles, as Lopez and Ortiz found themselves face to face with one another in a very heated setting ahead of their duel at the Staples Center. A little bit of gamesmanship took place and it’s obvious by his swagger that Lopez is determined to leave his mark despite his underdog status.
Speaking exclusively to Ortiz’s trainer Danny Garcia shortly after the face off, he didn’t seem to be too worried about the developments.
“They got a little upset,” Garcia would state. “It’s all good. It was just part of the game, you know?”
Garcia is familiar with Lopez’ style and while he was sure to offer up his respect, he doesn’t see too many issues for his fighter when the bell rings.
“I think that he’s going to try,” Garcia said of Lopez. “He’s a good little fighter, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to beat Victor. Victor’s a lot stronger, faster, with the better technique. I think we’re going to beat him no problem.”
There is always a lot on the line for a prizefighter whenever he steps through the ring but Ortiz’s case is different, as a September 15th date with WBC junior middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez awaits him if he is successful vs. Lopez.
It could serve as added pressure yet Garcia insists that nobody on Ortiz’s team is looking past their test in front of them.
“No. Because we know that we take it one by one,” said Garcia. “There’s no pressure. Right now I’m not nervous. I’m comfortable. It’s just another fight.”