Josesito Lopez and Roberto Garcia thought it was no coincidence that they were seated together during Wednesday's media session in Ontario, California, while their 147-pound opponents, Andre Berto and Shawn Porter, were paired at another table.
"I think that's the way that it's planned out. We're both on the B-side kind of the deal," said Garcia, who will fight Porter at Citizens Business Bank Arena at 9 p.m. ET/PT Friday night in the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series on Spike TV. Berto and Lopez will meet in the night’s other co-main event.
"Even though I don't go by that, I've always been on the B-side, so that's something that isn't new. It's something that I'm used to,” Garcia added. “It doesn't really matter to me, because I've been here before. I'm always on the B-side, and that's not going to change what happens in the ring."
A winner of eight consecutive fights since losing by unanimous decision to former titleholder Antonio Margarito at 154 pounds, Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs) is looking to hand Porter (24-1-1, 15 KOs) his second straight defeat. Porter, 27, lost a unanimous decision to Englishman Kell Brook in August.
The biggest win to date for Lopez (33-6, 19 KOs) came in June 2012, when he broke the jaw of Victor Ortiz and stopped him in the ninth round.
It was Ortiz who handed Berto (29-3, 22 KOs) his first loss in April 2011, winning a 12-round unanimous decision. Since falling to Ortiz, Berto is 2-2 in his last four fights, and had right shoulder surgery in August 2013 after injuring himself in a loss to Jesus Soto Karass.
Lopez, 30, recalled being the B-side against Ortiz, who was dropped in the second and sixth rounds by Berto but who also floored Berto in the first and sixth rounds of their bout.
"I think that in life, and in boxing, that's been my position. That's where I've been. I'm comfortable there. It's what keeps me hungry," said Lopez, a winner of three consecutive fights since losing by technical knockout to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September 2012 and Marcos Maidana in June 2013.
"I've had losses against world champs and ex-world champs,” Lopez said. “I've fought guys most people don't want to face. I'm willing to face any tough fighter, and that's usually what brings out the best in me."
It’s been a similar odyssey for Garcia, who won a 10-round split decision over Norberto Gonzalez at 158 pounds in February 2014 despite taking the fight on just 12 days’ notice.
"I'm always being brought in as the opponent. This is the normal for me. They never lay out any red carpets for me," said Garcia, who will turn 35 years old on March 26. "I've done that so many times, it doesn't matter. We'll take the victory because it's beautiful winning a fight that you're not supposed to."
"Whatever it is, we're prepared for it. If it goes all 12 rounds, we're ready for it. We had our camp, and we've pretty much worked on every scenario that [Berto] can come up with," Lopez said. "Yes, he's a fighter that can box, and we've worked on that. He's a fighter that can bang, and we've worked on that. It's game time now, and I'm counting down the hours to the fight."