Antonio Orozco focused on Abner Lopez, closing in on Crawford
Unbeaten junior welterweight Antonio Orozco squares off against Abner Lopez in a 10-round bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, on Saturday.
Orozco (24-0, 16 KOs) is coming off a first-round knockout win over Miguel Acosta on Mar. 25 in Indio and prior to that, on Oct. 3, the Los Angeles native scored his biggest win to date, outpointing former two-weight world titleholder Humberto Soto over 10 rounds.
Lopez (23-5, 19 KOs), by contrast, was knocked out in his most recent bout, which took place last November. Orozco, who now resides in the San Diego area, refuses to look past him, however, and is acutely aware that he cannot take any chances with such a big puncher.
“He’s a tremendous fighter,” Orozco told RingTV.com in a recent interview. “He obviously comes to win. He’s pulled some upsets with undefeated fighters. He’s been in some good fights. These are the fights we like. We like to be challenged. We like to be pushed. That’s what we’re expecting.”
Orozco, who is rated No. 4 by THE RING at 140 pounds, is the mandatory challenger to the WBC junior welterweight title. That title changed hands last Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, when Terence Crawford defeated Viktor Postol by wide 12-round unanimous decision.
It will be interesting to see if Crawford-Orozco transpires later this fall, or early in 2017 but, for now, Orozco has his sights set on Lopez.
“It’s an honor to be the mandatory challenger,” said Orozco, who is managed by Frank Espinoza. “Postol and Crawford (had) their obligations. I have to take care of mine first and when that time comes, we’ll see what happens.
“It’s a very prestigious belt. It’s pretty much the one (belt) that everyone wants to go after. Our work is paying off. We’re not done yet, (being) the mandatory challenger, there’s still a lot to come.”
At 28 years old, Orozco is likely entering the prime of his career. He has defeated above-average opposition thus far, but the tougher challenges await and he will not be abandoning the work ethic that has got him to this point.
“I’ve surrounded myself with a great team (which includes trainer Carlos Barragan), a very humble team,” he said. “We have to keep in mind where we started. It’s very easy to take two steps back and that’s the last thing we want to do. We have to maintain that focus and keep moving forward.
“Things will work out.”
Orozco-Lopez will follow the 10-round featherweight bout between Joseph Diaz Jr. and Victor Proa. Both fights will be televised on HBO Latino, beginning at 11:15 p.m. ET/ PT.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing