Josesito Lopez looks to play spoiler against Cody Crowley
Josesito Lopez has seen it all in his almost 20 years as a prizefighter. During that time, he has been at the pinnacle of the sport as well as face difficult obstacles and challenges.
Lopez believes he still has a lot left to offer the sport, including making a run at fighting for a world title belt.
He will face a tough challenge against unbeaten Cody Crowley Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The 10-round bout will be part of the televised undercard of the unification fight between world welterweight titleholders Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugas (Showtime Pay-Per-View, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Lopez weighed in at 146.5 pounds. Crowley weighed 144.5 pounds.
Lopez (38-8, 21 knockouts), who resides in Riverside, California, was scheduled to fight Abel Ramos on February 5, but suffered an injury in training camp a few weeks prior, forcing him to withdraw from the fight.
The 37-year-old has put together a solid run as of late, winning five of his last six bouts since his knockout loss to Andre Berto in March 2015. The only setback during this stretch was a majority decision loss to Keith Thurman in a fight where Thurman was stunned early on.
Lopez faces an unbeaten fighter in Crowley, who is coming off an impressive victory over former IBF mandatory challenger Kudratillo Abdukakhorov on December 11. The Canada-born Crowley (20-0, 9 KOs) is the favorite going into the fight, which does not faze Lopez at all.
“He’s a good fighter,” Lopez told The Ring over the phone Wednesday evening. “He has talent and he had a good win in his last fight.
“I’ve seen it all in terms of fighters bring to each fight. I’ve seen every style. I can adapt and change, if I need to. I believe I’m a smart fighter inside the ring. I’m strong and I feel great going into this fight. I believe that I’m one of the best welterweights in the world.”
Lopez credits his recent surge to Robert Garcia and the talent that trains at Garcia’s gym, which is also located in Riverside. One day he could be sparring Jose Ramirez, another day he could be sparring Mikey Garcia.
Aside from the sparring, Lopez believes Garcia’s methods of training in the gym and fighting a more-strategic fight have benefited him over the last couple of years.
“Hooking up with Robert has been the biggest difference in my career,” said Lopez, who has faced the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Victor Ortiz, Marcos Maidana, and Jessie Vargas. “He is the best trainer and he has the best team. Not only does Robert have the best team, but it’s the number of great fighters that are in the gym at the same time. It’s the best preparation for a fight and being part of that environment brings about a great vibe. I know boxing fans would pay money to watch sparring amongst the best fighters in boxing. And it’s the quality of sparring between champions, contenders, former champions, etc. I’ve benefited from it and I know other fighters have as well.”
An impressive victory over Crowley would create more opportunities for Lopez. Having been at the highest points of the sport, Lopez is smart not to overlook Crowley.
“I’ve mentioned before that I have the talent and skill to face the best in the division,” said Lopez. “I’m not the type of fighter to say I’m the best in the division, but I’ve been through the different stages in my career in different weight classes. I will say I can beat any of the top fighters at 147 pounds. I’m an exciting fighter and I’m one of the best welterweights in the world.
“The love and support I’ve received from fans throughout the years. Everything that fans tell me has pushed me to go far. My dream is to never give up and I hope I inspire other people to do that. I’ve stumbled a few times, but I’ve gotten up, dusted myself off and moved forward. I want to continue demonstrating I’m better off now because of that mindframe.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing