Saul "Canelo" Alvarez celebrates his unanimous decision over… (Ethan Miller / Getty Images )
Riverside’s Josesito Lopez, who produced a stunning upset over Victor Ortiz June 30 to spoil Ortiz’s Sept. 15 pay-per-view date against Mexico’s world super-welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, is now in final negotiations to fight Alvarez.
Three boxing officials familiar with the talks but unauthorized to speak publicly about the deal said Tuesday that the Alvarez-Lopez bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas could be announced by Golden Boy Promotions as soon as Wednesday.
Lopez (30-4) originally balked at the idea of moving up to 154 pounds to fight the 21-year-old Alvarez (40-0-1) since his fights before facing Ortiz were at 140 pounds.
Yet, as opponents failed to materialize for Alvarez, Lopez warmed to the idea, the challenge, and the money, officials close to the fighter said.
Alvarez was originally supposed to fight Paul Williams, but the former welterweight champion was left paralyzed in a motorcycle crash. A second opponent, James Kirkland, pulled out, unhappy with the money he’d earn, and uncomfortable about returning from shoulder surgery in time.
Then, third foe Ortiz was upset by Lopez, who was losing on all three scorecards after nine rounds, but put up a spirited effort and broke Ortiz’s jaw in the ninth.
Ortiz, who opted not to answer the bell for the 10thround, underwent surgery that required a titanium plate to help his reset jaw heal.
Lopez is expected to fight World Boxing Council champion Alvarez at 154 pounds, not a catchweight, one official involved in the negotiation said. Lopez needs to weigh more than 147 pounds the day before the bout and there was not expected to be a formal limit to Alvarez's weight, the official said.
The bout, to be televised by Showtime, will be pitted against a pay-per-view fight at nearby Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas scheduled for the same night – Mexican Independence Day – between WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez.
Chavez-Martinez promoter Bob Arum earlier Tuesday called the increasing speculation that Alvarez would fight an outsized Lopez “a joke."
“I’d say, wait for Kirkland to heal and go in October,” Arum said. “To be obstinate about it and still go Sept. 15 makes no sense.”
Blake Griffin and Clippers agree to 5-year contract extension
Who will be MLB's biggest impact player in season's second half?
USADA deals lifetime bans to Lance Armstrong-linked doctors, trainer