Josesito Lopez upset the apple card in a major way in 2012. Most of his career was spent fighting to land a big shot and on undercards to main events. In 2011, he took on Jessie Vargas on the undercard of the Mayweather-Ortiz pay-per-view. The fight was a scrap that Vargas won by close decision with some leaning towards Lopez’ way.
His luck changed in 2012 in one of many ways. First he was scheduled to headline a Friday Night Fight card on ESPN 2 in the 140 lb division against Kendall Holt. Holt however decided to back out because the fight was being staged in an outside venue in California in the summer. Then with the major rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto being derailed because of Berto’s positive test for a banned substance, Lopez was summoned to move up in weight and take on the heavy welterweight favorite, Ortiz.
While most hardcore fans know Lopez, not many casual fans did. When a listener of ThaBoxingVoice radio called in and said, “I didn’t know Juan Manuel Lopez moved up in weight to fight Victor Ortiz, that’s crazy.” We had to correct him and let him know exactly who he was.
We all picked against Lopez because he was there to be an opponent for Ortiz before his potential showdown with Canelo Alvarez in September of 2012. However, Lopez proved to be far more than an opponent, he was there to win and ruin Golden Boy’s masterful plan.
With Canelo in the stands on that June night in California, Lopez took the fight to Ortiz. He took Ortiz’s best shots and punished Victor wish some thudding blows of his own. It was a very fun fight with back and forth action. In the 9th, Ortiz decided to stop the fight because Lopez had broken his jaw in one of the rounds before. Ortiz’ famous words that night being, “Josesito busted my jaw and I couldn’t close my mouth.”
Critics will say it was another quit job for Ortiz who has had a history of being mentally weak in the ring. However, for Lopez it was the victory he needed to finally get his name on the map. Very few people, if any gave Lopez a shot (I didn’t), and he proved the masses wrong with that upset and it garnered ThaBoxingVoice.com’s 2012 Upset of the Year.
Lopez went on to land the coveted Canelo shot later that year moving up another weight class. Although he lost that fight by stoppage, he once again proved his heart and his mettle when he stood in trading with the bigger man. Lopez however, was not meant to fight at 154 and this fight proved it. That being said, plenty of people are waiting for his return at 140 or 147 in 2013, with a possible Amir Khan fight on the table.
Others Receiving Votes:
Sonny Boy Jaro over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: In life, only death and taxes are certain. That and Wonjongkam winning a title fight in Thailand. This fight with Jaro was supposed to be a routine title defense for the sure flyweight hall of famer. Jaro came in with 10 losses but claimed mightily that an upset was in the works, words most ignored. Jaro backed up his talking by dropping the long time champion in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th round (twice) of their contest. The fight was eventually stopped in the 6th round. It was a close vote (I voted for this upset) but this fight came in second to Lopez-Ortiz.
What was interesting about the aftermath of this fight, both fighters lost a fight after this upset. Jaro lost his next fight against Toshiyuki Igarashi in Japan. While Wonjongkam won his next 4 bouts before being stopped by Rey Migreno, a fighter with 20 losses. Had that fight happened before the Jaro fight, it could have qualified itself for upset of the year and more.
Garcia over Khan: In most fights that are upsets the routine is simple, the guy that wins isn’t supposed to win and normally not anyone picks the guy that wins. When the Garcia vs. Khan fight was made, most thought of Danny as just another opponent for Khan; even though Danny was also a title holder. Garcia was a substitute for Lamont Peterson who had defeated Khan in 2011 but tested positive for a banned substance before their rematch. The only person in our panel that picked Garcia to win was Nestor Gibbs.
Through all the prefight hype and the verbal war between Danny’s father Angel and Amir Khan, the fight still had to happen in the ring. Khan dominated the first two rounds. However, Garcia was poised and landed a thundering left hook that sent Khan flooring to the canvas in the 3rd round. In the 4th it was much of the same as Garcia dropped Khan twice and eventually forced a stoppage. Khan changed trainers and Garcia became a star.
Others Worthy of Mentions: Randall Bailey over Mike Jones, Denis Grachev over Ismayl Sillakh