Once the story of Andre Berto testing positive for steroids broke a few days ago, the search to find a worthy replacement was on, and according to ESPN Josesito Lopez will now be facing Victor Ortiz on June 23 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, which will leave many fans scratching their heads.
A Berto-Ortiz main event was a fight that could easily put enough fans in the seats of the Staples Center that can fit up to 20,000 people during a boxing event, but a bout with Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs)—a fighter not widely known by the casual fan—is not a fight that should headline a major boxing event at one of the sports largest venues, even with Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) involved.
Showtime's general sports manager, Stephan Espinoza, gave an explanation for Lopez being chosen:
We've explored a variety of potential opponents, and so far Lopez seems to be the best available opponent that will take the fight on short notice. He is a strong, tough and experienced fighter, and he's looked particularly good in his last few fights. I like this matchup, and I hope a deal can be worked out.
Espinoza and Showtime would have been better off moving the fight to a different date and a different venue if a bigger name opponent could not be found.
Oddly enough Lopez, like Ortiz, last fought in September of last year when Ortiz lost to pound-for-pound great, Floyd Mayweather Jr. by KO, and Lopez lost a heated battle against rising star, Jesse Vargas, via a 10-round split decision.
The ESPN report also stated that a third bout that will be televised for the Showtime card was being planned for June 23. Now, in addition to the junior welterweight bout between Humberto Soto (58-7-2, 34 KOs) and Lucas Matthysse (30-2, 28 KOs), heavyweight Cristobal Arreola will be added to the card pending the approval of his opponent.
Sure adding Arreola, a fighter that is based out of Riverside, CA, as is Lopez, will help draw in a few more fans, but the initial "wow factor" that comes along with having two big name fighters such as Berto and Ortiz on a card is just not there, and that will hurt ticket sales immensely.
Showtime should have just postponed Ortiz's fight date instead of putting a card together that is clearly rushed and undeserving of being a main event at one of the bigger arenas where boxing showcases it's best—not it's best available.