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28 MAY 2018

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Lopez Forces Ortiz To Quit/Matthysse Defeats Soto

Lopez and Ortiz battle in LA
Lopez and Ortiz battle in LA

By Jason Pribila: The Ghosts of the Staples Center once again haunted Victor Ortiz, as he came up short on a big stage against the determined Josesito Lopez. An ebb and flow fight ended suddenly when Ortiz suffered a broken jaw and was forced to quit on his stool before the tenth round of their fight on Saturday night.


Originally this date was reserved for the rematch of Ortiz and Andre Berto. Those plans went up in flames when Berto tested positive for a banned substance. Lopez stepped in for the opportunity of a lifetime and was fueled by the fact that Golden Boy Promotions announced that Ortiz would face junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on a Showtime PPV on September 16th. The best laid plans were crushed like Ortiz’s jaw via a Lopez left hook.


Lopez moved up to the welterweight division and embraced his role as the opponent in return for the opportunity to headline a main event on a premium network.

Many expected the bigger Ortiz to start fast and impose his will against a man who was expected to put up an honest effort before succumbing to the meticulously promoted power puncher.


Ortiz started slow but soon began to throw his straight left hand with authority. Although he was controlling distance, his flaws were apparent and soon Lopez began to expose them. For all of Ortiz’s athleticism, the result of his offense leaves him as standing squarely in front of his opponent. This flaw was mirrored by Berto, which what made their encounter so combustible.


Ortiz became aggressive in the second round, but Lopez stood his ground. A looping left hand by the opponent sent a message to Ortiz and the audience that he was not there to pick up a pay check.


Ortiz began to showcase his superior athleticism and moved well behind his jab. Lopez was having trouble countering, until Ortiz would get lazy. The fighters traded to the delight of the crowd, and Ortiz’s power was the difference during the exchanges.


The fifth round proved to be the bouts most pivotal. Unable to impose his well, a frustrated Ortiz landed a vicious right hand to the back of Lopez’s head. Lopez was given time to recover, and seemed more determined than ever when action resumed. As the fighters violently exchanged, it was Ortiz who had doubt follow him to his corner.


Lopez began digging to Ortiz’s body. Ortiz responded by jabbing and charging, but his aggression again left him vulnerable to Lopez’s straight right and looping left hook.


At the bout’s midway point cameras caught Ortiz’s corner asking if he was OK, as well as the uneasiness seen at ringside by Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez.

The second half of the fight began to tilt the ring in favor of the evening’s “David” vs Ortiz’s “Goliath”. Not only was the smaller opponent willing to trade, but after tasting leather he asked Ortiz for more. Lopez was now coming forward with belief.

The Ortiz jab momentarily righted his ship; however, Lopez’s well timed uppercuts kept him afloat. Ortiz kept his composure and, for a moment, settled for the realization that he’d have to box his way to a victory.


Round nine began with a lead left by Lopez, which was all it took to entice Ortiz to trade. Ortiz began to rip shots to Lopez’s body, and a straight left seemed to hurt Lopez but he returned a left hook that caught Ortiz with his mouth open. That blow turned out to be the punch that would end the fight.


A crowd braced for the championship rounds were instead left in awe by the fact the bout was waved off. Victor Ortiz complained in his corner that his jaw broken. He was no longer able to bite down on his mouthpiece, or willing to put his health in jeopardy for a sport that he never really felt was worth a career/life-long commitment.


The fight was over and Josesito Lopez had a career-best victory that defined more about his opponent than himself. He upset the apple-cart for Ortiz, Canelo, Golden Boy Promotions, and Showtime PPV. Unfortunately his quantum leap into the welterweight division won’t likely warrant him the right to face Alvarez, who would simply be too big of an opponent for anyone to buy.



Larry Merchant coined boxing as the “theater of the unexpected”.  On Saturday Night, Josesito Lopez reminded us why continue to buy tickets and thumb through PlayBills.


At the time of the stoppage, ringside judges had the bout scored in Ortiz’s favor by scores of: 86-86, 88-84, 88-83.  I had Ortiz ahead 86-84. 



Never before has the judging of boxing events been under more scrutiny than in 2012.  One person who carries that torch into the ring is Lucas Matthysse.  The Argentinian doesn’t need many other than the sports’ short-sighted to hear his case he should be undefeated.  Losing razor thin decisions against Zab Judah and Devon Alexander in their respective home towns would explain why Matthysse vowed not to let his fight against Humberto Soto go to the judges’ cards.


Soto, who had never been dropped, had other ideas.  The skillful Mexican started aggressive against his power punching foe and controlled the action in the opening two frames by being busier.


Matthysse had been in the ring with faster opponents, but it was the combination punching by Soto that was controlling the action. Matthysse remained calm and slowly began to impose his will via body blows that eventually forced Soto to the ropes.  Even though the fighters threw and landed, it was Matthysse’s power gaining the edge to Soto’s precision.


Matthysse began to impose his will midway through the third round.  Soto was finding himself more and more against the ropes.  Although he would fight well, it was obvious that the tide was turning for the Argentinian.


Matthysse won the first 2:30 of round four until Soto closed the round with what proved to be his last stand.  Size and power had given Matthysse the upper hand.

Soto tried to reverse the tide by digging body shots to Matthysse’s body in the fifth, but his effort only delayed the inevitable.  Matthysse’s powerful right hand landed on Soto’s chin, sending the proud Mexican to the ropes.  A second right hand left Soto defenseless and a third dropped him as the bell rang.  Soto rose, and gingerly walked to the corner, but he would not be able to rise again from his stool.


Matthysse will now continue to campaign in front of a nationwide audience who may have yet to see him lose.  As junior welterweights continue to climb the scales to secure a possible pay day with the sport’s cash cows, I am curious to see who would be willing and/or favored to face Matthysse at junior welterweight. 


Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He could be reached for questions/comments at or followed on twitter @PribsBoxing

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