By Keith Idec
Victor Ortiz has tried his best to downplay any controversy with Josesito Lopez.
The former WBC welterweight champion repeatedly reassured anyone that thinks he isn’t focused on fighting Lopez June 23 in Los Angeles that he’s not looking ahead to a Sept. 15 pay-per-view showdown with undefeated Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs, 1 NC) and his handlers are insulted because Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Ortiz and Alvarez, officially announced their fight last Tuesday, a week-and-a-half before Oritz will oppose Lopez.
“As far as the whole disrespectful thing, I don’t disrespect anyone,” Ortiz, 25, said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m fighting a great fighter June 23rd, Josesito Lopez, who I’ve been training particularly for and been ignoring everyone possible [in] the media about Canelo. I don’t really care about Canelo right now.”
The strong southpaw from Oxnard, Calif., recognizes that their 12-round welterweight fight at Staples Center is potentially a career-changer for the 27-year-old Lopez, of Riverside, Calif.
“He’s a dangerous fighter who’s in the same route I was a year-and-a-half ago against [Andre Berto],” Ortiz said. “The difference here is I’m too hungry to let my chance go. As far as I’m concerned, I’m ready for June 23rd, for Josesito Lopez. If he wants a war, we’ll go to war. If he wants to box, we can box. It doesn’t really matter.
“I’m there to take what’s rightfully mine … I know that Josesito’s ready to go, and so am I. That makes two of us, so no disrespect to his camp. But if they want to take it as disrespect, so be it. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready.”
There’s a seven-figure purse at stake when he fights Lopez, but Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) knows he cannot afford to think about earning that paycheck against an emerging Mexican star in three months.
“There’s no thoughts of me fighting Canelo,” Ortiz said. “There’s no thoughts of training camp for Canelo. There’s nothing there for Canelo, in my mind. As of right now, there’s only one guy that I want, and that’s Josesito Lopez. So I’m ready.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.