by David P. Greisman
There was a period of time in which Josesito Lopez lost three out of four, taking serious punishment in two of those defeats.
He had dropped a controversial split decision to Jessie Vargas in September 2011, only to come back and score a huge upset technical knockout over Victor Ortiz in June 2012. Then came a fifth-round stoppage loss at the hands of Canelo Alvarez in September 2012 and a sixth-round stoppage loss against Marcos Maidana in June 2013.
It’s been a decent amount of time since Lopez had a major fight. He picked up three consecutive victories in the time since, defeating Mike Arnaoutis in late 2013, and beating Aaron Martinez and Rafael Cobbs in 2014. Now he’s stepping back up with a clash against Andre Berto this Friday on “Premier Boxing Champions” on NBC.
“I had three really big fights, back to back to back, tough fights,” Lopez said on a March 9 media conference call. “And Canelo, I was just overmatched as far as size, a really, really big fighter. I was in over my head as far as weight and size. But you leave every loss or fight behind you and always try to learn from it, whether it’s a win or a loss. You move forward. … You leave any bad experience, as far as a loss, behind you.”
Physically speaking, the road back has left him recovered and refreshed.
“Training camp for big fights, three in a row, takes a toll on your body,” he said. “You definitely need a rest. My management forced me to take a break, take a rest. I fought three fights since. I feel fresh. I feel like I’m ready to step in with the big dogs and do it again. I feel as fresh as I can be. I feel like I’m ready for big fights now.”
The win over Victor Ortiz had helped land Lopez the fight with Alvarez after several of Canelo’s opponents fell out, including Ortiz suffering that defeat. Now that he’s got another opportunity, he knows a win over Berto can be meaningful — and the consequences of a loss also drive him.
“I think a victory come March 13 really opens every single door in the welterweight division in boxing right now,” Lopez said. “There’s definitely a lot of competition, plenty of fighters. It opens all doors. A loss, we would have to take another step back. I think that’s what adds a bigger incentive to this fight and more motivation for both fighters. We can’t afford a step back. That’s what motivates me and excites me. This is the fight that we need. This is the fight that fans can be talking about for a long time.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]