By Robert Morales
Josesito Lopez of Riverside is 28 years old and a world-class fighter, but he's never won a major championship. Turning down big fights therefore is not an option for him, and that's why tonight he will be in his third potentially brutal bout in succession when he squares off with hard-hitting Marcos Maidana in the welterweight main event at StubHub Center (on Showtime).
This period of Lopez's career began when he took on the much more heralded Victor Ortiz on June 23, 2012, at Staples Center. Lopez was losing after eight rounds, but he broke Ortiz's jaw and stopped him in the ninth round for a huge upset, the biggest of his career.
Lopez had earned something and got it when he accepted an offer to move up to super welterweight and challenge champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for his title in September at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Lopez was more of a junior welterweight and had only the one fight at welterweight when he entered the ring against the ultra-talented Alvarez. Lopez was stopped in the fifth round.
Now, it's Maidana (33-3), who has 30 knockouts in 36 fights, a terrific knockout ratio of 83.3 percent. Remember that Maidana also did a number on Ortiz when they tangled in June 2009 at Staples Center. After five combined knockdowns, Maidana stopped Ortiz in the sixth round. It was a memorable, vicious fight.
"On paper, it's one of those fights where you know it could be Fight of the Year," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Maidana. "You have 'The Jawbreaker,' with Josesito. And with Maidana you have one of the most exciting fighters pound-for-pound who, if he goes down, he comes up. Just an amazing will. Those two guys fighting each other is like a matchmaker's dream. I think that's why we are going to see a clean sellout in Carson."
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.