Tucson Boxing

Breaking down boxing career of “Destroyer” Lopez, pride of Nogales dead at 39

Starting your professional boxing career with five wins and five losses has historically relegated fighters to what many consider as “role players” in the boxing world. Perennial undercard gladiators, sparring partners for hire and fill-in warriors. Five-and-five guys can easily find themselves labeled as “tune-up fighters,” scheduled to help polish blue-chip prospects and are pitted in bouts against legitimate world title contenders before the blue-chip fighter appears on a pay-per-view card. Whenever scheduled fighters are scratched from main event bouts, five-win-five-loss fighters are many times called in to fill in at the last minute to save an event and they are usually eager to take the fight on short notice.

David Lopez lands a straight right to the face of Austin Trout during their 2011 title bout in San Luis Potosi, Mex. Trout would later win a unanimous decision. Photo: www.boxingscene.com

Going 13-7 in your first twenty bouts might mean a fighters career is forever stuck in pro boxing purgatory. The odds of salvaging their dreams of hearing the Michael Buffer and Lupe Contreras‘s of the world announce their name with a dramatic, “…and the NEW,” becomes exponentially more difficult, if not impossible. That’s not to say that achieving world class glory is unheard of for a 5-5 fighter or even at 13-7. Normally, especially in boxing’s more recent history, many of the best fighters in the world have already hoisted their first title belt at the MGM in Las Vegas and defended it at least once when they get around to scheduling their 20th professional bout.

Photo provided by www.elimparcial.com

David “Destroyer” Lopez (42-16-1 24 KOs), after that shaky start, found a way to beat those seemingly insurmountable odds and went 27-5 in his next 32 bouts. In June of 2011 Lopez had earned his shot against Austin Trout for the WBA Super Welterweight title as the mandatory challenger. Though he lost to Trout in a unanimous decision, it was that 27-5 run that earned Lopez fans and acclaim the world over. The odds he beat to find himself in a position to fight for a world title were vast. Local new stations in his hometown of Nogales, Sonora referred to Lopez as, “El Orgullo de Nogales,” or “The Pride of Nogales.”

During that 27-5 run, Lopez turned Tucson into a true “home court” advantage, having fought in the Old Pueblo 13 times only losing once to Fulgencia Zuniga in 2005 for the vacant WBO Latino super middle weight title and International Boxing Association middleweight title.

Throughout his career, Lopez held the Mexican Pacific Coast light heavyweight, Mexico light heavyweight, WBA-NABA super middleweight, International Boxing Association (IBA) middle weight, NABF middle weight, WBC Latino middle weight, WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) middle weight and WBA-NABA super welter weight titles.

Miguel Rivera of boxingscene.com wrote of Lopez, siting that Lopez had earned a reputation as a spoiler having shocked the undefeated records of Aubrey Sibanyoni, Michael Walker, Jerson Ravelo and Lonnie Bradley. And also defeated veterans Julio Cesar Garcia, Michel Rosales, Saul Roman, Ossie Duran, Danny Perez, Fernando Zuniga, Epifanio Mednoza and Rocky Montoya.

As Lopez approached his 60th fight, the decade he had spent building a head of steam and momentum between 2001 and 2011 was quelled when he faced Trout and suffered a devastating unanimous decision loss. Lopez entered as a 3/1 betting underdog. Lopez was down once in the eleventh round. The judges scored the bout 119-109, 117-110, 118-109. It was a drubbing that Lopez never fully bounced back from only winning two of his last five fights. Lopez’s last fight was in 2015. After 20 years in the ring, Lopez had earned a enormous following and had endeared himself to fight fans all over Mexico and Southwestern United States with his ability to seemingly overcome whatever odds boxing match makers, Vegas or life put against him.

Nogales, Sonora’s own, Tucson raised and the current WBO featherweight champion of the world Oscar Valdez took a moment to pay respects to the fallen Lopez. “Rest in peace my friend David “Destroyer” Lopez. You were a warrior in and out of the ring.”

On Thursday, July 6th, 2017, Lopez was in a vehicle with another individual in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico that was attacked with a storm of bullets. Mexican law enforcement officials arrived on scene and determined Lopez had already passed and emergency first responders from the Mexican Red Cross attended to Lopez’s companion. Mexican news outlet El Imparcial has identified the person with Lopez at the time of the attack as his 14 year old son who is now in stable condition. Services were held Sunday for Lopez.

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