By Chris Robinson
Last night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, determined underdog Josesito Lopez pulled off the biggest victory in his career after outlasting former champion Victor Ortiz. After nine heated and action-packed rounds, Ortiz, citing a broken jaw, elected not to continue and the fight was called off.
Ortiz was in line for a September 15th pay-per-view date with WBC junior middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez but that now falls by the wayside as Lopez basks in one of the greatest moments of his life.
Taking in the action last night was undefeated featherweight contender Miguel ‘Mikey’ Garcia, who had a peculiar interest in the bout. Garcia trains out of the II Feathers Gym in Riverside, the same gym Lopez calls him, and his older brother Danny serves as Victor’s head trainer.
Speaking to me shortly after last night’s wild melee, Garcia offered up some thoughts.
“Like everyone else, I saw it,” Garcia would state. “It was a good fight for the fans and they both gave a good show. Josesito kept coming forward and swinging away. Victor was defenseless or whatever, getting hit with punches he might have been able to avoid. He also tried to land some power shots on Jose and Jose just kept coming all night long.”
The way the contest ended was bizarre, as Ortiz elected not to come out for the tenth round because of severe swelling in his mouth, claiming to have a broken jaw. Despite his corner pleading for him to push forward, Ortiz opted to look out for his health yet Garcia seems to have his doubts.
“He said that he broke his jaw in one of the rounds before he quit, that’s what he told my brother when he whispered something into his ear. Maybe he was complaining about it before that. When he finally did, he told the ref he couldn’t continue. I don’t know if he broke it or not. I didn’t see much swelling like I’ve seen in other fights with other fighters who have fought with broken jaws. I didn’t see that with him.
“I saw him spitting out blood, but that could happen from just a cut,” Garcia would continue.
“I’ve seen fighters with broken jaws; [Paulie] Malignaggi, Arthur Abraham, and local fighters from the area. I think he was just coming up with an excuse to stop the fight. Maybe he thought ‘That’s it, I’m not made for this sport’. That was his way out.”
And while Garcia didn’t train alongside Lopez for this particular camp, he had a good feeling well ahead of time that an upset was within reach.
“I didn’t see him much this time because they were working on him in the morning and we were working out in the afternoon and sometimes I’m heading over to Big Bear,” said Garcia, who had been prepping for a shot at WBA featherweight champion Celestino Caballero. “We did talk a little bit in the first few weeks when the fight was brought up. We were talking with his trainer Henry and with Jose and we said his chance is to make it a rough fight, put pressure on him, and show him no respect.
“Don’t show Victor any intimidation and he will crack, he will break down,” added Garcia. “Mentally he doesn’t have it. He’s shown that in the past, in other fights. That would be Jose’s opportunity, to show Victor that he’s in there for a real fight and that’s what Jose did.”