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.