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Josesito Lopez set to dish it out, and take it, vs. Marcos Maidana

Lopez, a crowd-pleasing boxer known for his willingness to mix it up, faces Marcos Maidana in a Showtime welterweight bout Saturday at StubHub Center.

June 07, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

Josesito Lopez would one day like to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., but the Riverside fighter in no way shares Mayweather's theory of boxing.

While Mayweather has made a lucrative, unbeaten career of avoiding punishment in the ring, Lopez, 28, has arrived as a main-event fighter at StubHub Center in Carson — where on Saturday night he faces Argentina's hard-punching Marcos Maidana in a Showtime-televised welterweight bout — by unabashedly engaging in toe-to-toe warfare.

"As the fights go on, I have to be a little smarter, and in this fight, I definitely have to be a little smarter," Lopez said. "That's just the way I fight. When I find myself in trouble, the only way to get out is fighting back. I'll take a risk if it means pulling off a great punch or great combination that'll change things around."

Lopez's unflinching grit is winning him an audience. Fight promoter Richard Schaefer said a sellout crowd Saturday of greater than 8,000 could pack the venue formerly known as Home Depot Center, the site of several memorable boxing wars including Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez, Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado and Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov.

Lopez (30-5, 18 knockouts) established himself last year when he jumped in as a replacement fighter and faced former world welterweight champion Victor Ortiz at Staples Center, and produced a stunning, jaw-breaking technical-knockout victory.

Then, the 140-pounder jumped up to 154 pounds in September to take on the brutal assignment of Mexico's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Lopez mixed it up with Alvarez, of course, and was knocked down in rounds two, three and four before Alvarez ended it by TKO in the fifth.

What was lost in the ring was compensated for with more name recognition and Lopez's largest purse yet.

"This is a business and it is about money," Lopez's trainer Henry Ramirez said. "I could care less about keeping this guy's record safe. . . . He got a career-high payday for taking on Canelo. Why not do it? He's a bigger name coming out than he was going in, he did what boxers are supposed to do and went out on his shield."

Now, Lopez is in position to make another run at major bucks if he beats Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs).

Maidana, 29, is best known for also beating Ortiz and for his rocking decision loss to former junior-welterweight world champion Amir Khan in their 2010 fight of the year. Maidana has trained under Oxnard's Robert Garcia for this bout.

"If Lopez is willing, this is going to be a total slugfest from start to finish," Maidana said Thursday. "Fans know what they're going to get from me. I come to brawl. . . . There's no pressure. To me, the pressure is on Josesito. The fight is in his backyard."

Ramirez said, "I can actually see both guys trying to box more. But once they get hit, despite our push to not make it a war, it could go knockdown, drag-out."

The card also includes 154-pound bouts between Mexico's Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) and Cuba's Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), and Houston's Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs) vs. Philadelphia's Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs).

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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