The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
A new fight was registered into the Nominees for fight of the year. Absolutely Ricardo Lopez' narrow triumph over game Rosendo Alvarez is more than enough to stand alongside Robinson-Gatti and Stewart-Sellers for Fight of '98. Though the match was surrounded in controversy, with Alvarez getting stripped of the WBA title following the unsuccessful weigh-in. The two fighters had to agree on a weight limit of 115 pounds. Though Lopez' WBC strap was not on the line, the WBA belt was... only to Lopez however.
Lopez started fast, trying to make up for his performance in their first fight on March 7 of this year. Lopez collected the first 2 rounds, using effective jabs and an occasional hook to keep the forwarding Alvarez at bay. Alvarez fought back though, digging body shots into "El Finito" and taking Rounds 3 and 4. Ricardo was stunned by the resiliency by the Nicaraguan but that didn't stop his mission tonight.
In Round 5, Lopez was dominating. But unfortunately, a clash of heads opened a small cut by Lopez' right eye. He also had a bruise on his left eye. The abrasions of Lopez aside, a dominant round by the WBC Strawweight kingpin. Lopez continued his dominance from Round 6 until a majority of the rest of the fight. But hit some bumps along the way, he fractured his nose and got two more cuts under his left eye along the way.
In a wild final round, Lopez seemed possessed. As if he was behind on points (on my card, he wasn't), Lopez duked it out and both fighters went all-out in the final stanza of this outstanding contest. The judges had it 115-113 Alvarez, 116-112 Lopez, and 118-110 Lopez. The final card was a little off-base but the verdict was correct. I scored the match 115-113 for Ricardo "Finito" Lopez, who unified the WBC & WBA Strawweight Championships.
Get out your dictionaries. Look up the word champion. If Ricardo Lopezs picture isnt there, then throw your Websters out. Tonight in Las Vegas, longtime 105 lb. kingpin Ricardo Lopez turned in one of the gutsiest performances in recent memory. Fighting against the bigger and stronger Rosendo Alvarez, the only man to ever knock Lopez down, El Finito overcame tremendous disadvantages to add the WBA title to the WBC one he already held.
This fight almost didnt come off. At the official weigh in, Lopez made weight easily by scaling in at 103 1/2 pounds. His opponent could not match his effort. Alvarez stepped onto the scale at 108 1/4, a full division above the limit, and was immediately stripped of his WBA 105 lb. title. Lopez could have turned down the fight at that point, and even threatened to. At some point in the next 24 hours, a deal was struck: the fighters would re-weigh in with a new limit of 115 pounds...3 full weight divisions over the 105 lb. ranks from which both fighters hailed. Alvarez made the weight, by one pound, and the fight was on. The new scenario: Lopezs WBC Minimumweight (formerly Strawweight) title would not be on the line. The newly vacated WBA Minimumweight title would be on the line, but only Lopez was able to win it. If Alvarez won the bout, he would remain titleless, having failed to make 105 at the official weigh-in. Confused yet?
No matter which title was on the line, the bout began much as the first fight between these two warriors did: Lopez the boxer, Alvarez the stronger puncher. A classic styles matchup made for a classic bout.
Lopez took the first two rounds by unleashing the accurate and crisp combinations that have defined his sterling career. Lopez landed punches from all angles, committing especially to a strong left hook that found its target a dozen times each stanza. Alvarez stormed back the next two rounds with his power punches. Slowing down Lopezs aggression, Alvarezs heavy hands landed with clubbing effectiveness. The war was just beginning.
The momentum switched back to Lopez in the 5th, but not for long. As both men took turns attacking, the advantage was traded between the two fighters for the rest of the bout. Ricardo was at his best from the outside, where his jab and quick combinations scored regularly, and Rosendo dished out abuse on the inside, beating Lopezs face into an unrecognizable mess. Lopez was cut over the right eye in the 5th (via accidental headbutt), over the left eye in the 6th, was bleeding out of his nose in the 7th, cut under the left eye in the 9th, and cut under the right eye during the 10th. The rest of his face was reddened with bruises and contusions from the fists of Alvarez, but he kept fighting.
Despite looking much the worse for wear and tear, Lopez somehow managed to establish the rhythm of the fight through the later rounds. As Alvarez slowed, Lopez stepped up the pace, winning some of the closest rounds with a busier style. Firing a persistent jab, textbook right hands, and improbable left uppercuts, Lopez was able to keep Alvarez on defense. Alvarez still, however, bullied his way inside, and the scintillating exchanges they produced brought the crowd to its feet throughout the bout.
In the 12th, Lopez had established a small lead, but fought like he needed the knockout. As all four cuts, his nose and lip poured out blood, Lopez fired and fired and fired. Alvarez fired back, but was the one holding on in the last minute of the round. Toe to toe at the final bell, Lopez closed the bout with a final round that left little doubt as to the winner. It was a stirring performance from a bloodied champion.
When the final scores were read, Lopez got his victory, albeit via split decision. Winning 116-114, 116-112, 113-115, Ricardo Lopez remained undefeated, added another 105 lb. title belt to his waist, and submitted his application for Fight of the Year. Lopez (47-0-1/35) was ever the sportsman in victory, complimenting Alvarez (24-1-1) and offering no self-promoting boasts. Ricardo Lopez reigns, and boxing is all the better for it.
-Rosendo Alvarez blamed his inability to make weight on an inaccurate scale used in training. A weak excuse. This fight had every reason to be canceled, and may have been had Christy Martin not canceled her own bout earlier. Christy Martin reportedly went to Don King in the days before her bout and demanded more money. When King balked, Martin claimed illness and pulled out of her bout. She looked 100% healthy sitting ringside for Lopez-Alvarez, infuriating Nevada State Athletic Commission head Marc Ratner. Ratner promised an investigation by the state Attorney General and hinted that Martin might be the next fighter to face a Nevada suspension. Martin was unwilling to talk on camera, but was briefly overheard having a heated exchange with King after the main event. King mentioned that Martin had been wooed by a rival promoter (likely Bob Arum, who controls Lucia Rijker) but also claimed that everything is just fine with us. Time will tell, but at this point who cares? After bursting on the scene with a surprisingly entertaining bout on the Tyson-Bruno undercard, Christy Martin has used her clout to duck real challenges, take easy paydays, and now break contracts when she doesnt want to fight. After leading womens boxing to the limelight, she now threatens to send it back to side-show status with her antics. Whether or not she comes back hardly matters...at this point she has boxing fans crying Who cares?
The Champ Now King: Lopez Unifies Titles!
By Francis Walker
Having nearly faced defeat for the first time in his career last March, WBC strawweight champion Ricardo Lopez (47-0-1, 35KOs), came back on Friday, November 14, at the Las Vegas Hilton, to win the WBA minimum-weight title with a 12-round split decision against Rosendo Alvarez (24-1-1, 16KOs). The first time Lopez and Alvarez fought, Lopez was cut above his left eye, floored with one punch, and barely escaped with a technical draw. Though suffering from three severe cuts in the rematch, Lopez still showed tremendous heart and remarkable skills. Solidifying his claim as one of the best fighters in the world.
The bout, promoted by Don King Productions, was televised live on Showtime.
Originally, Lopez-Alvarez II was billed as a 105-pound championship unification contest. However, since Alvarez weighed over the Minimumweight limit, the World Boxing Association stripped him and declared the crown vacant. In addition, Lopez' World Boxing Council strawweight crown would not be at stake either. As a result, Lopez-Alvarez II was to decide who would wear the WBA title. Lopez, who had nothing to lose had all to gain.
The action was intense, but picked-up dramatically in the fifth. An accidental collision of heads left a nasty opening across Lopez' right eye. How ironic? The same situation which caused the first fight to end in a draw, occurred in
the rematch. Only this time Lopez, a 31-year-old native of Mexico City, Mexico, was more relaxed and more determined to take care of business. Looking for the knockout, Lopez attacked Alvarez with wild left and right-hook combinations. Alvarez, 28, Managua, Nicaragua, who did a great job of countering with overhand rights, forced Lopez to fight going backwards.
Despite going back, Lopez never back-peddled. Such a beautiful fighter, Lopez side-stepped, repositioned, and kept firing three-hit combinations behind his left-jabs. By doing so, Alvarez mostly lunged and missed with his overhand counters. But because of the cut, Lopez could not stand straight-away and exchange bombs with the stronger fighter.
With additional cuts across his right eyelid and above his left cheek bone, Lopez still managed to dominate the contest. And most importantly, the later rounds. It was then when Lopez' left-jabs were most effective - snapping
Alvarez' head backward! Despite numerous counter-right hands from Alvarez, Lopez blocked and recountered, finishing strongly with left and right-hook finishes.
While judge Silvester Abainza scored the bout 115-113 for Alvarez, the other two officials, Larry O' Connell and Jerry Roth scored it 116-114 and 116-112 respectively for Lopez.
Aside from having been covered in his own blood, it was an enjoyable experience for boxing's longest reigning champion. Lopez had now extended his reign to eight years, with 21 successful defenses.