By Jake Donovan
Exactly 52 weeks will have passed since the last time Josesito Lopez and Saul Alvarez appeared on the same televised card, though in a split-site capacity.
Alvarez was the headlining act at Staples Center in Los Angeles for his stoppage win over Alfonso Gomez. The fight doubled as a televised chief support to the pay-per-view main event between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which hosted Lopez’ split decision loss to Jessie Vargas in the opening bout of the telecast.
Not much was thought of the pay-per-view curtain raiser going into the evening. The bout was an intended showcase for the unbeaten Vargas, but instead turned into a 10-round war which featured a highly disputable decision, the latter seeming to serve as Lopez’ legacy.
The fight was the last for Californian prior to his June fight with Ortiz, also inactive since that evening. The plan was for Ortiz to win and set up a September 15 showdown with Alvarez, but Lopez carved out a new legacy for himself, rallying from a deficit to break Ortiz’ jaw and ultimately his spirit, forcing the former welterweight titlist to retire on his stool after nine rounds.
Lopez (30-4, 18KO) instead landed the high profile showdown with Alvarez. He will enter the fight at a career heaviest weight, with the bout taking place at 154 lb. The evening marks the second time in as many fights where Lopez moves up in weight, having spent the majority of his career at 140 lb.
Given the magnitude of the event as well as its competing card in the same city that evening, Lopez has already endured far more media attention than at any other point in his career.
In the end, however, it all amounts to being just another fight for 12 rounds or less, once the opening bell sounds.
“I never really think about it too much,” Lopez says of going from undercard filler to headlining act in the span of a year. “I feel well as far as controlling my mental spirit. We’re prepared for a tough fight. I don’t think about how big it is.
“At the end of the day, the rival in the ring is all that I think about.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox