In what is shaping up as one of the most intriguing match-ups on this years boxing calendar, Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez (33-6, 19 KOs) looks to get back to world title contention against former world champion Andre “The Beast” Berto (29-3, 22 KOs) this Friday, March 13, from the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.
The 12-round fight is televised live on Spike TV beginning at 6 P.M. PT / 9 P.M. ET (Premier Boxing Champions).
Lopez, who is co-promoted by Goossen Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions, held his training camp in high elevation at Summit Gym in Big Bear, Calif.
After suffering a tough, sixth round knockout loss to Marcos Maidana nearly two years ago – a fight in which he was winning on two scorecards – Lopez has since turned his fortunes around by winning three straight. A win against Berto puts him in line for bigger fights.
The Thompson Boxing team caught up with the Southern California native at a recent training session. Below is a transcript from our interview.
Talk about the importance of this fight.
“I’m preparing for the most important fight of my career. A win on Friday basically controls the direction of where I need to go. A lot of opportunities opened up after my knock out win against Victor Ortiz. Similar things may happen with a win on Friday. It’s now or never.”
What do you expect from Andre Berto?
Andre Berto is a warrior. He’s a former world champ. He’s been in some tough fights against excellent boxers. He’s fast, strong and very intelligent too. Simply put, I expect the toughest fight of my life. But the biggest difference is not what he can do, but what I’m going to do to him.”
Why did you decide to move your training camp to Big Bear?
This is the biggest fight of my career and I needed the best training experience for this fight. I’ve trained here before so I understand the level of commitment required to succeed in high elevation training. It does a number on you mentally and physically. In my opinion, there’s no better spot to prepare for a big fight.
What kind support have you received from your fans?
“I have some of the most supportive, most loyal fans in boxing. They’re incredible. I’m super appreciative for all the support they’ve given me through the years. Even when I was coming up and nobody knew about me, they were always cheering me on. They do a great job of coming to my fights. I expect a packed house on Friday night. When the going gets tough, and it will, they’ll give me that extra edge to push forward.”
What kind of fight can fans expect?
“Like every fight, they’re going to see me give everything I have. They’re going to see the best performance out of me.”
How do you feel just a couple of days away from fight night?
“I’m definitely anxious to get inside the ring. We were in Big Bear for seven weeks, and the time spent there was all about boxing. I let my beard and hair grow. I closed myself off from a lot of distractions. I took great care in preparing for this fight. I’m physically and mentally ready to win.”
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