Orcas Tossing Baby Seals: Saul Alvarez TKO5 Josesito Lopez


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If the value of a product or service is ultimately determined by what it fetches on the market, then Victor Ortiz’ scalp is worth $212,000. This is what Riverside, California’s Josesito Lopez was reportedly paid for facing Juanacatlan, Mexico’s Saul Alvarez Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Lopez was given the Alvarez fight for collecting Ortiz’ scalp over nine vicious rounds in June. He earned every penny against the popular Alvarez, who delivered a merciless beating en route to a 5th-round TKO.

The outcome of this anti-climactic bloodletting, this exposé on the rationale behind weight divisions and the troublesome geography located between rocks and hard places, was obvious before the first bell rang. Lopez, 30-5-0-1 (18KO), who had never weighed more than 146.5 pounds, tipped the scales at 153lbs on Friday, and added another 12 pounds to his already encumbered frame by fight time. The extra size was supposed to translate into greater strength and punch resistance, but resulted in making Lopez a softer, slower, and less durable target, one that Alvarez, 41-0-1 (30), would hit with impunity.

In the first round, Lopez seemed stuck in molasses (a product of the added bulk) while Alvarez engaged him confidently, firing crisp jabs. Wagering that his inflated opponent didn’t pack his power for the move to junior middleweight, Alvarez quickly went on the aggressive. He landed the first straight right hand he threw, and soon followed up with another. Lopez responded as is his wont, impudently letting fly with earnest but ineffective hooks to Alvarez’ body.

Lopez waded in as the second round began and managed to back Alvarez up, landing a left hook and straight right. But Alvarez easily absorbed the shots before firing back with two evil left hooks, confronting Lopez with the reality that the former junior welterweight was horribly outgunned. Unconcerned with the return fire, Alvarez began mixing his punches to the body and head, methodically tenderizing his foe. Lopez looked to retaliate, but there was already a hint of desperation in his punching, a flash of self doubt on his face. He was throwing as often as Alvarez, but unable to discourage his barrel-chested antagonist. With ten seconds left in the round a right uppercut followed by a left hook to the body sent Lopez to the canvas. Although Lopez beat the count the fact that he so quickly found himself off his feet was telling. Lopez had taken some brutal shots from Ortiz without being knocked down. Alvarez promised something much more pernicious.

The third round saw Alvarez effectively nullify Lopez’ aggression by forcing the smaller man to the ropes and putting him on the defensive. A savage three-punch combination with two minutes left in the round dropped Lopez on the seat of his pants. As referee Joe Cortez administered the count, Lopez, blood smeared across his face, looked beyond the ropes as if searching for answers. When the action resumed, Alvarez backed Lopez into the corner and brutalized him with hooks, uppercuts, and chopping rights. When Lopez returned fire, landing a looping right hand, Alvarez unloaded on Lopez, shaking the smaller man to his boots.

Alvarez largely dispensed with the jab in the fourth round, choosing to counter or feint his way inside to throw hooks and uppercuts. A beautiful seven punch combination from Alvarez dropped Lopez near the end of the round. Cortez could’ve have stopped the fight at this point; Lopez’ trainer, Henry Ramirez should have stopped it. Lopez was getting battered.

The ad nauseum beating ended in the fifth round, with Cortez intervening after Lopez spent nearly three minutes getting broken by whatever Alvarez chose to land.

Martin Amis once described a particularly squalid, violent London suburb as “a land of italics and exclamation marks.” Boxing, squalid and violent, was deserving of a similar description on this night. Lopez should never have been approved as an opponent. Breaking Ortiz’ jaw and resolve did not magically transform Lopez into a threat to a junior middleweight already his fistic superior. But Lopez could hardly turn down the payday, and he came relatively cheap, so Golden Boy knew they had their mark. To add insult to injury Alvarez was awarded Showtime’s $100,000 “Best Knockout” bonus for pulverizing his hopeless opponent—not by the network mind you, but by the fans, who apparently got the predictably one-sided drubbing they wanted to see. Perhaps then, we should bring back the pillory to entertain between rounds? Or televise orcas tossing baby seals on the big screen? When a shameful mismatch is celebrated as the apex of the event, why even bother with competition?

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Tags: Josesito Lopez JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS Saul Alvarez VICTOR ORTIZ

  • MrSaito

    Good article. I feared for Lopez in this fight, and am glad that Cortez stepped in and put an end to the beating the young game fighter was taking. The minute this fight was made, the possibility of an Arturo Gatti versus Joey Gamache outcome shivered through my mind. Thankfully, Lopez was spared Gamache like after fight consequences, and will fight another day, hopefully at his natural weight.

    Golden Boy Promotions should be ashamed of staging this bout. Alvarez seems to be a good fighter, but he has yet to face anyone of skill and prowess at 154 pounds. There were quite a few worthy opponents for this fight; opponents that would have provided a much more competitive and entertaining fight, but Golden Boy dare not put their prized cow in against anyone that resembles a threat.

    Seemingly counter intuitively, GBP will stage an Alvarez vs Mayweather fight before placing Alvarez in against a competitive opponent that does not generate a lot of revenue. Alvarez is huge in Mexico, and with Mexicans in general; and a fight with Mayweather will make millions. I predict they will make the Mayweather vs Canelo fight sooner rather than later.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi Mr. S
      I think Williams and Kirkland would’ve both proven real threats to Alvarez, though those fights fell apart for different reasons. I don’t know that GBP isn’t willing to have Alvarez step up, but I do think that as the date approached, and an opponent hadn’t been announced, and the enthusiasm for the rival card was so high, that the brass at GBP (and Team Alvarez) thought themselves best served in taking the easiest fight against an opponent with some profile. That was Lopez.
      Matching Alvarez softly helps preserve his aura, and thus the marketability of the Mayweather fight. I think Mayweather destroys him, so they might as well make that fight, get paid, and then design the “post-Mayweather” plan for his career. Amittedly, I’m not really up to snuff on the business side of boxing, but that’s how I’d play it.

  • Dennis Wise

    The main event was as bad as we feared, but I enjoyed the show. I liked the extra mile they went in production, bringing in Brian Kenny. And I thought Malignaggi was really good behind the mic. Didn’t try to hard, simply provided observations when he thought necessary.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi Dennis,
      I watched both cards on TVs positioned beside each other, and with the volume low, so admittedly, I missed much of the bells and whistles of both broadcasts. Brian Kenny is always a welcome addition though, and Malignaggi loves the sound of his own voice, so you know he brings enthusiasm to the job.
      The main event was garbage. I understand that GBP tried other, more credible options, and that those fights fell through. But surely there was someone at 154 or 147 even who could’ve filled the spot? Lopez had a bit of a bump in popularity, sure, but he couldn’t fight with it.
      Was it worth it for Lopez? Do you think he made the right decision in taking a shit-kicking after capturing the imagination of so many in beating Ortiz? Or would he have been better served using his new leverage to secure a few winnable fights at 140/147?
      Stuff you get to ponder while a guys getting ground to bits.