Lopez ready for some home cookin'

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Josesito Lopez calls himself the “Riverside Rocky,” a populist hero of California’s Inland Empire. Now he gets to see just how much the home crowd loves him when he takes on Andre Berto on March 13, in the first Premier Boxing Championship card on Spike TV.

Josesito Lopez

Josesito Lopez throws a left against Victor Ortiz during their June 2012 fight at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

The showdown with Berto will be a hop, skip and a jump from Riverside—in Ontario, California. It’s maybe a half-hour trip up Southern California’s criss-crossing highways. Close enough that Lopez’s fans only have a leisurely drive ahead of them; close enough that the crowd will have a heavy tilt.

“It means a lot to me to be able to fight a fight of this magnitude in my front yard. It’s exciting. I have a great, great fan base that follows me everywhere I go, and I expect a big turnout come fight night,” Lopez said.

Lopez is no stranger to the site of the bout: Citizens Business Bank Arena. He’s already fought there twice, against Marvin Cordova Jr. in 2010 and Alex Perez in 2008. If those fights are any indication, it’s an auspicious omen: Lopez won both bouts, Perez by knockout and Cordova by unanimous decision.

“It’s been few years since I fought there. I've fought there in eight-rounders, but now headlining the event, I think a fight of this magnitude to the Inland Empire, it’s a big deal. I’ll definitely be giving the fans what they want to see.”

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