When former welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz and rising contender Josesito Lopez meet in Saturday's 12-round bout from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, each will be attempting to reach his 30th victory and grab a vacant title. And although those milestones may be important to a fighter's career, in this case the biggest prize lies beyond. The true value of a victory would be solidifying a spot in the upper echelon of the lucrative 147-pound division, and the bigger and better purses that come with it. And for Ortiz, the stakes are higher: If he stumbles against Lopez on Saturday, his September pay-per-view blockbuster against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vanishes.
Ortiz-Lopez features a pair of fighters with like-minded strategies and similar outstanding weapons: Ortiz's straight left and Lopez's straight right. Although both are well-rounded, resourceful boxers, Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) is clearly the harder puncher, launching from his uncomfortable southpaw stance, and also has the hand-speed advantage. For Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs), outboxing Ortiz from distance, using his mobility and controlling space in the ring, represents his best chance. But in the end, the most intriguing aspect of the fight will be watching those two long straight hands go to work and finding out which of the two commands the most respect.
With the stage set, here are five keys to victory for Ortiz on Saturday:
Get past the checkpoint
Mind your business
Take the head start
Hooked on hooks
Far from right
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.