Josesito Lopez moved up to welterweight in June 2012 and pulled a major upset when he broke former titleholder Victor Ortiz’s jaw and stopped him in the ninth round.
After the inspiring win, which the Riverside, Calif., product called his “Rocky moment,” he took on the nickname “The Riverside Rocky.”
But then the 29-year-old Lopez (30-6, 18 KOs) hit a rough patch, losing his next two fights. He moved up to junior middleweight and got wiped out in the fifth round by then-titleholder Canelo Alvarez, the much bigger man, in September 2012 in a fight promoters had no business making. After that bout, Lopez got stopped by Marcos Maidana in the sixth round at welterweight in June in a terrific fight.
Lopez hopes to get back on track when he meets former junior welterweight contender Mike Arnaoutis (24-9-1, 11 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight fight on Friday night (Fox Sports 1, 10 ET) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.
Lopez, the clear favorite against the faded 34-year-old Arnaoutis, is determined to put the defeats behind him.
“You have to take it as a learning experience and continue to work hard no matter what happened in the past,” Lopez said. “Staying motivated and keeping active in the gym worked really well for me. At the end of the day, you have to put it behind you and move on.
“Every fight presents a new opportunity to improve and learn and that's how I'm approaching this fight. As long as you prepare well and go in with a solid game plan, then you'll be fine. There's definitely added motivation to come out and look sharp. I know I have world champion talent, I just have to go out and show it. I'm anxious to go out and perform at a high level.”
The co-feature pits Francisco Vargas (17-0-1, 13 KOs), a 2008 Mexican Olympian, against Jerry Belmontes (18-2, 5 KOs) in a 10-round junior featherweight fight.
Also on the televised card in eight-round bouts: junior middleweight Jermall Charlo (16-0, 12 KOs) against Joseph De Los Santos (16-12-3, 9 KOs), 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. (7-0, 5 KOs) meeting Carlos Rodriguez (18-12-4, 10 KOs) at junior featherweight, and Errol Spence Jr. (9-0, 7 KOs), Diaz's Olympic teammate, in a junior middleweight bout against Noe Bolanos (25-8-1, 16 KOs).
Junior featherweight Diego De La Hoya (1-0, 1 KO) -- the nephew of Oscar De La Hoya -- is also on the card in his second pro go.
Gary Russell Jr. (23-0, 13 KOs) was scheduled for an untelevised 10-round junior lightweight bout -- although, as usual, he had no opponent less than a week before the fight -- but he pulled out, unwilling to face any of the various names presented to him and his team.