Ernie Lopezernie lopez, ernie lopez state farm
Ernie "Indian Red" Lopez September 24, 1945 – October 3, 2009, was an American professional boxer He twice fought for the world welterweight boxing title, losing title bouts to José Nápoles in 1970 and 1973 He was a missing person from 1992 to 2004 and was the subject of extensive press coverage in early 2004 when, after being selected for induction into the California Boxing Hall of Fame, he was found at a homeless shelter in Fort Worth, Texas
- 1 Early years
- 2 Professional boxing career
- 3 Title bouts against José Nápoles
- 4 Wanderer and missing person
- 5 Rediscovery and Hall of Fame
- 6 Death
- 7 Professional boxing record
- 8 References
Lopez was born on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in Fort Duchesne, Utah His mother was a Ute Indian, and his father was a Juaneño
Lopez attended Orem High School in Orem, Utah, where he chose boxing over football He married as a teenager and moved to Pasadena, California, where he boxed out of the Pasadena YMCA He later recalled that he learned to box from his father and added, "But sometimes I learned when I watched my father hit my mother"
Professional boxing career
Lopez became a popular boxer in Los Angeles during the late 1960s and early 1970s, fighting out of the Los Angeles Main Street Gym for much of his career His brother, Danny "Little Red" Lopez, also went into boxing and became the world featherweight champion Both of the Lopez brothers were managed by Howie Steindler
Lopez was given the nickname "Indian Red" because of his flaming red hair and Native American heritage In 1968, when Lopez became the first Native American boxer to be ranked as the No 1 contender in any weight class, Pulitzer Prize winning sports writer Jim Murray wrote:
"I don't know how he is as a prize fighter, but Ernie Indian Red Lopez certainly is disappointing as an Indian I mean, he doesn't look like something John Wayne would chase down the street shouting something about 'damned redskin' 'Damned redhead,' maybe But, Lordy, the skin is even freckled! Now, whoever heard of a red-headed, freckle-skinned Indian 'What was your Indian name' I asked Indian Red 'Ernie,' he told me"
Lopez had a career record of 51-10-1, and fought bouts in England, Hawaii, Japan and Mexico In 1967, Lopez wore an Indian chief's headdress into the ring in a match against Musahi Nakano in Japan Lopez said, "I bought the thing at Disneyland to take over with me I liked it so much I was going to keep it But it turned out they have this custom in Japan where the fighters exchange gifts before the fight Nakano gave me a samurai warrior's jacket and I gave him the headpiece"
Lopez's three bouts against Hedgemon Lewis in the late 1960s drew extensive media coverage Going into the first fight in July 1968, Hedgemon Lewis was undefeated in 23 bouts, and both fighters were considered top contenders in the welterweight class Lopez won the first bout in a ninth-round knockout, which the Los Angeles Times described as follows:
"Like Gen Custer at Little Big Horn, Hedgemon Lewis got to wondering where all those Indians were coming from And like his ancestors, Ernie Indian Red Lopez staged a fistic massacre Thursday night when he battered the previously unbeaten Lewis into a state of helplessness before a roaring turnaway mob of 10,400 at the Olympic Auditorium"
Lopez won two out of the three bouts with Lewis In 2004, Lewis said of Lopez, "He was aggressive and always on the attack Ernie was a crowd-pleaser because he was a fighter Period He fought" Actor Ryan O'Neal, who managed Lewis when Lewis fought Lopez, added, "Lopez was a warrior He was also a gentleman, a decent man But as a fighter, Lopez would hit the other guy so much he would become exhausted Because of that, Lopez would always fill an arena, because he would give the fans their money's worth It was his heart that made him win" Another writer said of him, "He was an aggressive fighter who knew only one direction: forward"
Title bouts against José Nápoles
On February 14, 1970, Lopez got a shot at the world welterweight boxing title in a bout against Cuban Jose "Mantequilla" Nápoles in front of a sellout crowd at The Forum in Inglewood, California Lopez was knocked down in the 1st, 9th, and 15th rounds before the bout was called as a technical knockout in the 15th round In 1971, boxing writer Dan Hafner said of Lopez:
"It is the misfortune of Ernie Indian Red Lopez to come along when one of the all-time greats, José Nápoles, rules the welterweight division The fiery, part-Ute Indian demonstrated beyond doubt on Thursday night that he is the class of the rest of the 147-pounders In his smartest and possibly best fight of his career, Lopez pounded out a unanimous, one-sided 10-round decision over highly regarded Oscar Albarado and gave a masterful performance"
Sugar Ray Leonard, who watched Nápoles fight Lopez, shared a similar opinion, "If it wasn't for Nápoles, Ernie probably would have been champion"
Lopez got a rematch against Nápoles, and a second shot at the title, three years later on February 28, 1973—again in front of a sellout crowd at The Forum The second bout proved to be a turning point in Lopez's life Lopez had reportedly won the first six rounds, and Nápoles had cuts above and below his eye and on the bridge of his nose At the start of the seventh round, Nápoles hit Lopez squarely in the face, and Lopez fell to the canvas, where he lay unconscious for three minutes After the knockout, Nápoles cradled Lopez's head and repeated, "Please wake up Please wake up"
Wanderer and missing person
Reports indicate that Lopez's life went into a tailspin after the 1973 loss to Nápoles He fought two more bouts and lost both in technical knockouts He was divorced from his wife and took to a life of wandering His brother, Danny Lopez, said, "It was the losses to Nápoles and the divorce that sent Ernie into a tailspin He was a hurt man" Lopez's ex-wife also attributed the decline to the loss to Nápoles: "I think he lost confidence, his goal was destroyed He was depressed and angry We started having marital problems"
For twelve years from 1992 through 2004, Lopez was out of touch with his family and was considered a missing person His ex-wife said, "The last time I saw him, he was kind of a street person That was in 1992 He gave up all of his possessions and then went out in the world like a person wandering It was really sad because he just gave up"
Rediscovery and Hall of Fame
In early 2004, Lopez was selected for induction into the California Boxing Hall of Fame With the impetus of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department agreed to assist Lopez's family in trying to locate him In February 2004, Lopez was discovered living in a homeless shelter in Fort Worth, Texas When contacted by his ex-wife in 2004, Lopez stated, "I'm not lost I'm right here" On learning of his selection for the Hall of Fame, Lopez told the Los Angeles Times, "Why are they doing this for me I wasn't good enough for the Hall of Fame" Shortly thereafter, Lopez was re-united with his four children and 23 grandchildren
Lopez's story became the subject of multiple newspaper and television stories, with reporters and television camera crews coming to the homeless shelter to interview him He told the Los Angeles Times at the time that he did not recall why he moved to Fort Worth, but he recalled "living with a church family in Missouri, shoveling snow for a hotel owner in Portland, Maine, sleeping in New York's Central Park, working construction in Florida and cleaning hotel rooms in Phoenix" He told another reporter, "I've been all over the United States Might have missed a few states, but it's sure a nice place But I never stayed too long anywhere"
On October 3, 2009, Lopez died in Pleasant Grove, Utah from complications of dementia at age 64
Professional boxing record
|48 Wins 24 knockouts, 24 decisions, 13 Losses 6 knockouts, 7 decisions, 1 Draw|
|Loss||7-2||Kenny Louis||KO||1||07/07/1987||Omni New Daisy Theater, Memphis, Tennessee, United States|
|Loss||38-3-1||John Stracey||TKO||7||29/10/1974||Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, United Kingdom||Referee stopped the bout at 2:25 of the seventh round|
|Loss||27-4-1||Armando Muniz||TKO||7||26/07/1973||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Loss||74-5||Jose Napoles||KO||7||28/02/1973||Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California, United States||WBC/WBA World Welterweight Titles Lopez knocked out at 1:36 of the seventh round|
|Win||15-16||Jose Luis Baltazar||KO||5||10/11/1972||Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||59-25-6||Manuel "Speedy" Gonzalez||RTD||5||12/10/1972||Sahara Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||73-12||Emile Griffith||UD||10||30/03/1972||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||4-5, 4-5, 2-5|
|Win||28-4-1||Sal Martinez||TKO||3||20/01/1972||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 1:28 of the third round|
|Win||39-4-1||Oscar Albarado||UD||10||28/10/1971||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||8-3, 8-2, 10-1|
|Win||16-2||Manuel Fierro||UD||10||16/09/1971||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||7-2, 7-2, 9-0|
|Win||22-21-2||"Dangerous" Danny Perez||TKO||2||08/07/1971||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Loss||68-11||Emile Griffith||MD||10||03/05/1971||Nevada Sports Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||45-47, 46-46, 45-47|
|Win||40-42-3||Peter Cobblah||MD||10||20/01/1971||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||13-9-2||Cipriano Hernandez||UD||10||10/10/1970||Valley Music Theater, Woodland Hills, California, United States||9-1, 9-1, 8-0|
|Win||20-15-1||Ruben "Sandwich" Rivera||KO||6||03/08/1970||Sacramento, California, United States|
|Win||25-17-3||Manuel Avitia||KO||8||08/07/1970||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||62-4||Jose Napoles||TKO||15||14/02/1970||Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California, United States||WBC/WBA World Welterweight Titles Referee stopped the bout at 2:38 of the 15th round|
|Win||28-1||Hedgemon Lewis||TKO||10||04/10/1969||Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 2:33 of the tenth round|
|Loss||27-1||Hedgemon Lewis||UD||10||10/07/1969||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||4-7, 5-6, 4-5|
|Win||72-11-2||Chucho Garcia||UD||10||13/03/1969||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||8-2, 8-1, 11-0|
|Win||26-20||Brad Silas||KO||1||18/02/1969||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California, United States||Silas knocked out at 2:35 of the first round|
|Win||40-12-1||Raul Soriano||TKO||9||30/01/1969||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 2:25 of the ninth round|
|Win||7-27-3||Polo Corona||PTS||10||31/07/1968||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||22-0||Hedgemon Lewis||TKO||9||18/07/1968||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 1:48 of the ninth round|
|Win||32-10||Gabe Terronez||UD||12||30/04/1968||Selland Arena, Fresno, California, United States||7-2, 11-0, 11-0|
|Loss||33-12-1||Raul Soriano||UD||10||03/03/1968||Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico|
|Win||14-1||Bob "Robert" Murray||UD||10||08/02/1968||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||6-2, 7-1, 8-1|
|Win||21-19-1||Doug McLeod||KO||4||20/11/1967||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||23-16-2||Jose Valenzuela||TKO||10||12/10/1967||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 2:35 of the tenth round|
|Win||29-3-3||Musashi Nakano||KO||3||08/08/1967||Nagoya, Aichi, Japan||Nakano knocked out at 0:47 of the third round|
|Win||5-2||Andy "Speedy" Gonzalez||KO||7||06/07/1967||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||California Welterweight Title Gonzalez knocked out at 2:58 of the seventh round|
|Win||2-2-1||"Dr" Phil Robinson||PTS||10||13/06/1967||Honolulu, Hawaii, United States|
|Win||8-16||Ed McGruder||PTS||10||22/05/1967||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||17-17-4||Frank "Too Sweet" Jennings||TKO||8||20/04/1967||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 2:15 of the eighth round|
|Win||37-14-5||Johnny "Quest" Brooks||PTS||10||27/03/1967||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||30-24-4||Benito "El Presidente" Juarez||PTS||10||06/03/1967||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||16-5-2||Adolph Pruitt||UD||10||12/12/1966||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||31-12-5||Johnny "Quest" Brooks||SD||10||19/09/1966||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||31-11-5||Johnny "Quest" Brooks||PTS||10||22/08/1966||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||34-11-5||Tito Marshall||UD||10||21/06/1966||Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||47-45, 49-43, 47-43|
|Win||27-6-2||Jose Stable||UD||10||09/05/1966||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||27-10-4||Johnny "Quest" Brooks||UD||12||04/04/1966||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||19-7-3||Al Grant||PTS||10||28/02/1966||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||2-2-2||Mel Fields||TKO||3||14/02/1966||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||12-16-1||Memo Lopez||KO||6||31/01/1966||Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Lopez knocked out at 2:14 of the sixth round|
|Win||26-33-5||Al Andrews||PTS||10||17/01/1966||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||25-15-2||Pulga Serrano||TKO||4||20/12/1965||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Referee stopped the bout at 1:32 of the fourth round|
|Win||8-2-1||Armand Laurenco Laurinco||KO||1||06/12/1965||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Laurinco knocked out at 2:47 of the first round|
|Draw||8-2||Armand Laurenco Laurinco||PTS||6||09/11/1965||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||13-12-3||Billy "Boggy" Marsh||PTS||6||01/11/1965||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||12-1||Don Minor||UD||12||22/12/1964||Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||North American Welterweight Title|
|Win||6-2-1||Chappell Funnye||KO||8||19/10/1964||Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Win||5-0||Bernie Magallanes||PTS||6||29/09/1964||Castaways Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||11-3-1||Jesse Armenta||KO||9||04/07/1964||Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico|
|Win||3-1||Joe "Prime Minister" Clark||PTS||6||12/06/1964||Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||22-8-6||Andres Herrera||PTS||6||30/03/1964||Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Win||0-2||George "Putting" Green||KO||5||10/03/1964||Castaways Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||--||Trini "La Bamba" Lopez||PTS||4||03/03/1964||Valley Garden Arena, North Hollywood, California, United States|
|Win||9-4-1||Mickey Davitt||KO||1||13/02/1964||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||3-3-3||Carl "The Snarl" Moore||KO||3||04/02/1964||Castaways Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||--||Armand Laurenco Laurinco||PTS||6||21/01/1964||Castaways Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||--||John Coopride||KO||2||24/06/1963||Fairgrounds Coliseum, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States||Coopride knocked out at 1:04 of the second round|
- ^ "Indian Red turns up after vanishing act" San Diego Union-Tribune 2004-03-07
- ^ a b c Charles Maher 1969-07-04 "Indian Fighter" Los Angeles Times
- ^ a b c Keith Thursby 2009-10-05 "Ernie 'Indian Red' Lopez dies at 64; welterweight fought before sellout crowds at the Forum" Los Angeles Times
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Diane Pucin 2004-03-04 "Back From the Brink" Los Angeles Times
- ^ a b c d Robert Morales 2004-03-01 "A WELCOMED RETURN FOR LOPEZ" Daily News Los Angeles
- ^ Jim Murray 1968-07-18 "Red Flunks Indian Test" Los Angeles Times
- ^ a b c d e f g Pete Alfano 2004-03-06 "Onetime welterweight boxing champion resurfaces in Texas shelter" Knight Ridder Tribune News Service from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
- ^ Frank Finch 1968-07-19 "Lopez Scores KO in Ninth to End Streak by Lewis" Los Angeles Times
- ^ Dan Hafner 1970-10-29 "Indian Red Easily Whips Albarado" Los Angeles Times
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