Josesito Lopez: Andre Berto fight will ‘elevate me to that next level’
For Andre Berto, his March 13 fight against Josesito Lopez represents an opportunity to beat a guy who beat the guy who handed him his first loss.
But Lopez said it is his job not to allow that to happen, given he boasts a ninth round stoppage over Victor Ortiz at a time when the latter was two fights removed from a unanimous decision win over Berto.
“I can gain quite a bit from watching our two fights with Ortiz if you look at both of those fights together and I know that I can already expect fireworks from round one,” said Lopez, who fought Ortiz in June 2012. Berto faced Ortiz in April 2011.
“So it gives you an idea of the types of fighters we are and what we can do. But I’m doing everything that I can to win and that is what I believe I’m supposed to do is win. In my mind, I’m just supposed to beat Andre Berto on March 13.”
Lopez (33-6, 19 KOs) will face Berto (29-3, 22 KOs) in the main event of a new boxing series on the Spike TV cable network unveiled by adviser Al Haymon on Thursday during a press conference in Santa Monica, California. The co-feature will match former IBF welterweight beltholder Shawn Porter against Roberto Garcia.
The premiere episode is the debut of a monthly series that will air on Fridays at 9:00 p.m. as part of a multi-year deal. Although the site of the first show has not been finalized, the StubHub Center in Carson, California, is reportedly in the running.
“You know, I think that Berto is as good as any of the guys that I’ve fought,” said Lopez, 30, a winner of three straight fights, one by knockout, since losing by consecutive stoppages in the fifth and sixth rounds to Canelo Alvarez as a junior middleweight in September 2012 and Marcos Maidana as a welterweight in June 2013, respectively.
“On paper, I’m really not sure who you would consider the favorite between me and Berto. I think that, to most, they would probably consider it a 50/50 fight but my mentality is to win, so I’m going in there to win it like I’m supposed to.”
Lopez has sandwiched a fifth round technical knockout of Aaron Martinez in April 2014 between decisions over Mike Arnaoutis and Rafael Cobos in December 2013 and last September.
Prior to facing Alvarez in his 154-pound debut, Lopez captivated many fans by stopping Ortiz, a former 147-pound titleholder whose jaw was broken during their bout.
“To me, it’s another fight and I have to try to prepare as best as I can and I have to prepare better than I did for the last one,” said Lopez, who is known as “The Riverside Rocky.” “It’s a huge fight and stylistically and match-up-wise, I’ve never been this excited for a fight in a long time.”
A two-time welterweight titlewinner, Berto (29-3, 22 KOs) returned to full-time training from shoulder surgery in August. Berto had surgery in August 2013 to repair a ruptured subscapularis (under the shoulder blade) tendon that he suffered during a 12th-round stoppage loss to Jesus Soto Karass in July 2013. The most recent surgery had followed a previous procedure to repair a ruptured left biceps in February 2012.
The loss to Soto Karass was Berto’s first by knockout. His other setbacks were by unanimous decision to Victor Ortiz in April 2011 and to Robert Guerrero in November of 2012.
“When you get right down to it, it comes down to the match-ups and I think that this fight with Berto is just perfect for me,” said Lopez. “I don’t think that it can get any better for me than Berto. Thinking about it just gives me an extra burst of energy. This is the fight that will elevate me to that next level.”