By Marc Livitz: Several if not most in the boxing industry could have predicted that former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz would have the chance to achieve the same notoriety in 2012 as he did in 2011. Last year’s memories of the Oxnard, California fighter stretched from breathtaking to bizarre. In April of 2011, Ortiz (29(22)-4(3)-2) was the winning half of an epic battle with Andre Berto, who himself had at the time blazed his way to a perfect 27-0 record. Each fighter was twice sent to the canvas, yet it was ultimately "Vicious" Victor Ortiz who triumphed with a unanimous decision win. Sitting ringside that spring evening at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut was none other than Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Boxing and sporting fans alike have come to know the memorable yet for some forgettable result of Ortiz’s September 2011 matchup with Mayweather, Jr. He failed to protect himself at all times and for this did he pay so very dearly. Nevertheless, after a six month layoff, Ortiz re-emerged with his sights on a lucrative payday with a return to Las Vegas for a September 2012 (Mexican Independence Day Weekend) showdown with emerging Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. All he had to do was step up and over Jose Manuel "Josesito" Lopez, which was perhaps the expected result in the eyes of many. The Staples Center in Los Angeles was the site of their June 23 matchup and SecondsOut.com would formally like to recognize their fight as the upset of the year for 2012.
Josesito Lopez (30(18)-5(1)) was not seen as the most difficult obstacle for Victor Ortiz. Waiting the wings was the aforementioned Saul Alvarez, who himself was in attendance. Many had all but foreseen a forthcoming staredown in the ring between Alvarez and the heavily favored Ortiz once the Oxnard fighter disposed of the Riverside fighter. Lopez was in fact entering the bout at the heaviest of his career (over 144) and had fought in lower classes throughout his nine years in the ring. Ortiz controlled the majority of the opening round by way of his size and powerful combinations, although Lopez did close the period with some left handed shots of his own. The next few rounds followed a similar pattern: Victor Ortiz would be the stronger fighter, yet Josesito found a way to fight back, even when he felt overwhelmed or even visibly hurt. As the middle of the scheduled twelve round fight closed, Lopez was nursing a swollen left eye. Ortiz would soon learn why your opponent is always dangerous until the final bell sounds or the victorious combatant’s glove is raised in some other fashion.
Josesito fought back hard from this point and he definitely got the attention of Victor Ortiz when he landed a set of uppercuts in the seventh round. In the eighth and most especially in the ninth, Ortiz’s power did not have the same effect as it did earlier on in the contest. He remained active, yet it was Lopez who was firing back and to a greater extent. He appeared to stun Ortiz as third quarter of the bout came to a close. As the fighters went to their respective corners, the bout was shortly thereafter waved to a halt by referee Jack Reiss. Although Ortiz was ahead on all of the scorecards at the time of the stoppage, he indicated to Reiss that he could not continue. His jaw had been broken.
Nothing spells upset quite like the disappointed look of upset on the face of the vanquished. Josesito Lopez had pulled off the improbable shocker and Ortiz returned dejectedly to his dressing room. He slumped to the floor as he realized that his big money showdown with Saul Alvarez had vanished in a puff of smoke. To perhaps add further insult to injury, it was in fact Lopez who faced Alvarez on September 15 of this year in Las Vegas and he was soundly beaten in five rounds.
Once again, SecondsOut.com congratulates Josesito Lopez who for at least one night grabbed the boxing world by the throat and achieved an improbable win and the Upset of the Year for 2012.