By Francisco Salazar
Photos: Esther Lin / Showtime
Victor Ortiz hopes to return to fighting in the elite bouts that he has fought in and could be fighting in with three months time. Josesito Lopez wants to prove he is an elite fighter, hoping to secure a career-defining victory. While these are different point of views, one thing that Ortiz and Lopez agree on is that their 12 round welterweight bout promises to produce action and fireworks. Ortiz and Lopez will headline a seven-bout card at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. The bout, along with the 12 round junior welterweight bout between Humberto Soto and Lucas Matthysse, will be televised on Showtime.
At the customary press conference on Thursday, both Ortiz and Lopez oozed confidence, eager to get in the ring on Saturday night. Both fighters, along with Soto and Matthysse, were eager to win decisively, not even bringing the judges into play for their respective bouts.
One well known fight fan will have a front row seat, anticipating a war between the two popular Mexican-American fighters. “This event is an exciting one and we are really looking forward to it,” said Golden Boy Promotions promoter Oscar De La Hoya. “We have two tremendous fighters who are hungry, who are just ready to go to war Saturday night. SHOWTIME is looking forward to it and all the people are looking forward to it. We are truly excited.”
Ortiz is in line to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez should he prevent Lopez from having his hand raised in victory. While Ortiz has said that he is only thinking about Lopez, he has had to fend off some criticism from Lopez’s camp and the media for taking a fight when he still has a fight on Saturday night.
Whatever the case, Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) anticipates facing a motivated and hungry Lopez.
“He’s a great fighter and I’ve been watching him as much as he’s been watching me. No disrespect on my end. We both plan to do one thing and that is to destroy each other. I will hold my hand up at the end. I’ve been working too hard.”
Fighting in his prime at the age of 27, Lopez may understand the importance of this fight and the world title and big day possibilities that could come if he is victorious on Saturday.
Although he lost his last bout by split decision to Jessie Vargas and having stayed away from boxing about three years ago, Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs) is eager to prove he belongs amongst the elite of the welterweight division.
“I am prepared for this fight. I have a very, very tough man ahead of me and I’m going to have to fight the fight of my life, but this is what I’m used to. I have prepared really well for this moment.”
Fight fans and media alike are anticipating a war of sorts between two of the harder-hitting fighters in the 140 pound division in Humberto Soto and Lucas Matthysse.
Since his 12 round unanimous decision war over Urbano Antillon in December of 2010, Soto (59-7-2, 34 KOs) has quietly won his last five bouts in a row.
Despite two highly-disputed losses on Matthysse’s record, Soto and his camp consider the Argentine to be undefeated.
“We know the level of fighter that Matthysse is. It’s the level of fighter that I have been asking for. The winners are going to be the fans. On Saturday you’re going to see a great fight.”
As customary, Matthysse had little to say.
“Soto is a very good fighter. We’re excited and we’re going to put on a great fight.”
While both Ortiz-Lopez and Soto-Matthysse will be televised on Showtime starting at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT, Showtime Extreme will televise at least two bouts starting at 7PM ET/ 4PM PT.
Light middleweights Jermell Charlo (17-0, 8 KOs) and Denis Douglin (14-1, 8 KOs) will battle it out in a 10 round bout, while light welterweights Omar Figueroa (17-0-1, 14 KOs) and Alain Hernandez (18-10-2, 10 KOs) fight in a scheduled eight round bout.
The card is being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, in association with Goossen Tutor and Thompson Boxing Promotions.