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Ernie Lopez

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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

Contents

  • 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

Early years

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"

Death

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
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
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

References

  1. ^ "Indian Red turns up after vanishing act" San Diego Union-Tribune 2004-03-07 
  2. ^ a b c Charles Maher 1969-07-04 "Indian Fighter" Los Angeles Times 
  3. ^ 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 
  4. ^ 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 
  5. ^ a b c d Robert Morales 2004-03-01 "A WELCOMED RETURN FOR LOPEZ" Daily News Los Angeles 
  6. ^ Jim Murray 1968-07-18 "Red Flunks Indian Test" Los Angeles Times 
  7. ^ 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 
  8. ^ Frank Finch 1968-07-19 "Lopez Scores KO in Ninth to End Streak by Lewis" Los Angeles Times 
  9. ^ Dan Hafner 1970-10-29 "Indian Red Easily Whips Albarado" Los Angeles Times 

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    29.10.2014


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