Josesito Lopez lands a punch to Victor Ortiz’s jaw in the ninth round,… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
Josesito Lopez didn't come to Staples Center on Saturday night just to fight, but to give the performance of his lifetime.
By battering the heavier, stronger Victor Ortiz and standing up to the hard-hitting southpaw's best blows, Riverside's Lopez pulled off a stunning upset at Staples Center, decided when Lopez landed a ninth-round punch with Ortiz's mouth open.
Ortiz said he suffered a broken jaw, and he agreed with his corner's decision to stop the fight after nine rounds, surrendering despite leading on all three judges' scorecards at the time of the technical-knockout stoppage by scores of 86-85, 87-84 and 88-83.
"I have a big heart; Victor has no heart," Lopez said in the ring after a fight-of-the-year candidate match that spoils Ortiz's hopes for a multi-million-dollar purse that was being reserved for him Sept. 15 againstMexico'sworld super-welterweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
"Josesito busted my jaw.... I couldn't close my mouth," said Ortiz (29-4-2), the former world welterweight champion who was working to rehabilitate his toughness after a September loss toFloyd Mayweather Jr.and a dubious effort in a 2009 defeat at Staples to Marcos Maidana.
Ortiz was taken to a hospital after the bout, complaining of excessive bleeding in the mouth. He told a publicist on his way to the hospital that his jaw was first injured in the fifth round.
"Ortiz is out," Golden Boy Promotions Chief Executive Richard Schaefer said of Alvarez fight.
Lopez's trainer, Henry Ramirez and promoter Ken Thompson said Lopez would be unable to move up in weight to fight at 154 pounds and could return to the 140 light-welterweight division.
Schaefer referred to "three to four candidates" he'll discuss with Alvarez this week.
"What a courageous fight" by Lopez, Schaefer said. "We all know how hard Victor punches. To take those punches … this kid has a lot of heart."
Lopez was only summoned to fight Ortiz last month after Ortiz's scheduled opponent Andre Berto tested positive for a steroid. When asked Thursday how he'd beat the bigger man, Lopez said simply, "Will."
"He tried to intimidate me, but I'm not intimidated by anybody," Lopez said. "I knew I needed to fight the fight of my life. I caught him with good punches every round. I chopped him down."
Lopez (30-4, 18 knockouts) declined to yield to Ortiz's southpaw power and size advantage by summoning his boxing skill, accepting an Ortiz punch, but countering with precise combinations.
In the fifth, Lopez was given time to recover from a punch to the back of the head that did not earn a point deduction from referee Jack Reiss. "I never thought about quitting, I just needed a few seconds to ease the pain," Lopez said. "He hits hard, man, but I was never going to quit."
Lopez was backed up to the ropes and corners by Ortiz's powerful blows, but he rallied by finding openings. Lopez dropped his hands and invited Ortiz to bring it on. And with a vicious right and left that defined a seventh-round exchange, the crowd was chanting, "Jose!"
In the ninth, Ortiz started picking apart Lopez with lefts and rights, as both of Lopez's eyes swelled.
But Lopez answered with a hard left-right followed by the telling stiff right in the final minute with Ortiz's mouth open.
The main event was preceded by a 140-pound slugfest won byArgentina'sLucas Matthysse over Mexico's Humberto Soto, when Soto's corner waved off the bout after five rounds.