The Pugilist

Canelo-Ortiz announcement tempts fate

'Vicious' Victor Ortiz

Victor Ortiz's welterweight fight against Josesito Lopez on Saturday could easily backfire on him following recent events.

The battle of the Mexican-Americans, for the WBC 'Silver' (interim) championship, rose from the ashes of a planned rematch between Ortiz and Andre Berto.

In their initial encounter over a year ago in Connecticut — the night of Amir Khan's technical decision triumph over Paul McCloskey — Ortiz claimed the legitimate WBC  crown from 'The Beast' in arguably the fight of the year.

And though his last fight (and first defence) against Floyd Mayweather ended in a peculiar defeat, anticipation for the return bout with Berto were high.

Then Berto tested positive last month for norandrosterone, and the fight was called off. Extremely short notice to find a replacement fighter — which they did in Lopez — but it didn't quell 'Vicious' Vic's confidence:

"I know that he (Lopez) is a good fighter," Ortiz said at the media workout at Hollywood's Fortune Gym.

On the subject of a late change increasing chances of an upset, he proclaimed: "Good for him that he's motivated.

"I have no ring rust because I've been in the gym for the last six-seven months."

Things became even more delicate on Wednesday when news broke that victory for the placeholder WBC belt at the MGM Grand Garden Arena — site of the 'Money' defeat — would lock in a step up to 154 to challenge the white-hot Saul Alvarez for his WBC light-middleweight title.

Now, if Ortiz, his camp, the promoters or anyone else were seeking bigger tempt of fate than declaring to the world that gym work alone would get him through a switch of fighters, they struck gold with this presumptuous announcement.

Will a potential Alvarez (pictured) showdown distract Ortiz against Lopez?

If, if, the 25-year-old vanquishes his immediate 29(17)-4 foe as expected, he finds himself in a lucrative position with the opportunity to make amends for the Mayweather shambles almost a year to the very day, at the very same location — and the strong chance of his profile being raised even in defeat, if he keeps his guard up.

But should Josesito catch the potentially-distracted Kansas man out at the weekend, the defeat will serve a lot more damage than your typical against-the-odds affair: Ortiz will immediately be accused of treating it all as an afterthought.

It's a stigma he began attempting to wash away as soon as he humanly could, saying at the work-out: "I actually don't care what people think. Right now, I'm like 'Canelo who?'

"My only focus is on Lopez. After Saturday night, then I could focus on Canelo."

But what do you think? Will Lopez rock the boat and cause another major disruption to his compatriot's 2012?

A report of the Vegas showdown can be found at http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/ on Sunday morning.

Tale of the tape