By Rick Reeno
Prior to Saturday night's barnburner at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, junior welterweight contender Josesito Lopez (30-4, 18KOs) was written off before he even stepped in the ring with former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22KOs).
Lopez was more than a 6-1 underdog and a lot of people considered him to be a physically overmatched opponent. The skinny kid from Riverside began his career at super featherweight, while Ortiz spent most of his career at junior welterweight and quickly became a strong 147-pounder.
The early rounds of the fight were following the script that many experts predicted. Ortiz was aggressive, landing the harder punches, doing damage, and a gusty Lopez was standing his ground.
But, round by round the fight was quickly becoming a full blown war where Lopez was giving as good as he was getting.
At the end of the ninth round, Ortiz walked back to his corner and indicated to his trainer, Danny Garcia, that Lopez had broken his jaw and the fight needed to be stopped.
A shocking ending to one of the most exciting fights of the year.
Ortiz left the arena and went straight to the hospital, where the boxer will soon undergo a surgical procedure on his injured jaw.
Once Ortiz recovers, he does have the option of exercising a rematch clause. If Ortiz decides to fight Lopez for a second time - Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer is ready to make it happen.
"Who wouldn't want to see a rematch of the 'Fight of The Year?' I haven't seen this year a better fight yet. This was a toe to toe battle and not many people gave Josesito much of a chance - but actually some of the media guys, like Robert Morales, told me that he thought Lopez was going to win and that it would be a hell of a fight. A lot of people underestimated him, but that won't happen the next time and I think the rematch is going to be huge," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
Stephen Espinoza, the VP and General Manager of Showtime Sports, is also enthusiastic about a possible rematch. Both Espinoza and Schaefer believe a rematch will sell out the Staples Center.
"Is there anybody who bought a ticket to this fight who isn't buying a ticket to the rematch and bringing two friends? We'll sell it out," Espinoza told BoxingScene.