Welterweights Victor Ortiz and Josesito Lopez are commanding much of the attention this week as they prepare to meet in the main event Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but the co-feature has a good chance to trump it for action.
In that fight, Mexico's Humberto Soto (59-7-2, 34 KOs), a former lightweight and junior lightweight titlist, will tangle with power hitter Lucas Matthysse (30-2, 28 KOs) of Argentina in a 12-round junior welterweight bout.
Soto has pretty much always been in good fights, has some good wins and is very experienced. Matthysse is another guy who doesn't do anything fancy but loves to bang. His two losses -- to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander -- came by split decision in his opponent's hometown.
Like many, Soto is predicting an action fight.
"There is no doubt Lucas is a strong opponent and a strong fighter. He comes forward and always looks for a fight," Soto said through a translator. "The difference in this fight is the experience. I have a lot of experience, and that's what's going to lead me to victory. Matthysse is a good fighter. He's going to stay in there and he's a smart fighter. We're going to go toe to toe."
And lucky for fight fans, Matthysse is on board with the plan for an exciting fight.
"It's very simple: I need to go to war," said Matthysse, a tattoo artist in his spare time outside the ring (and who hopes to tattoo Soto with his fists). "I need to put a lot of pressure on him and I need to work hard and win every round. That's the game plan -- go to war. I'm going to leave it all in the ring."
The winner of the fight will put himself in prime position to challenge for a 140-pound title. In addition to those stakes, it's not every day that a fighter goes for a 60th career victory. That's what Soto, 32, who turned pro at age 17 in 1997, will be doing.
If he wins, Soto will join a small group of active fighters who have reached the 60-win mark, including Luis Ramon "Yory Boy" Campas (100), Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (84), James Toney (74), Jose Luis Castillo (63) and Jorge Arce (60).
"Winning 60 fights would be great, but winning another world title is what I really want," Soto said. "I've always worked very hard in training trying to learn different things. I've always been very dedicated in the gym. Matthysse is a great fighter with a very respectful power punch. I'm going to fight a very intelligent fight. I'm going to follow my corner's directions and go in there and outbox him and be the smarter fighter."