Former featherweight champion Danny Lopez realized he couldn't come back when he was hit while sparring and it hurt. He had always gotten hit. It was kind of a trademark. But this hurt. For days. That's a hard dollar, he suddenly realized, if every fight was going to be a migraine.
So Lopez picked a somewhat smaller headache. He would manage.
Now, a year and a half later, he will have his first main event as a manager when his junior lightweight, Greg Puente, fights Francisco Sequera at the Irvine Marriott Thursday night. And if it hasn't been a smooth ride--he's barely earned gas money in his new career--it has had its thrills.
"It's fun, it's interesting and I still get excited, almost like being in the ring," he said. "Except that nobody's punching me."
It was a heady time in the 1970s when Lopez made eight spectacular title defenses and everybody was punching him. That was always to no avail until the late Salvador Sanchez came along.
"I was always the kind of guy who took a shot to give one," Lopez said. "With Sanchez, I never got to give one."
Lopez retired after two knockout losses to Sanchez, somewhat fittingly. It was how he came in, on knockouts.
If you wonder why he was such an attraction at the Olympic Auditorium and elsewhere, consider that of his 47 bouts, just three were determined by judges. And even in the knockout wins, he usually had been on the canvas himself.
Managing is a little less exciting, but who needs so much excitement? Lopez wanted none. It was only because Puente kept hounding him in their old Alhambra neighborhood that Lopez finally agreed to give it a try.
Now he has two other fighters and is going to train former bantamweight champion Albert Davila.
Certainly he's not in it for the money because, as he says, there is none. Anyway, his big purses were wisely invested and he is able to live off interest, tooling around his new Diamond Bar neighborhood in a Cadillac. He is one fighter who got out smart.
"I have a lovely wife, three nice boys and I came out with something a lot of others didn't," he said. Then, laughing, he added: "My looks aren't too bad either."
Now that he's on the other side of the ropes, they'll likely stay that way.
Boxing Notes Larry Alexander and Mark Wills, who started the Stroh's heavyweight tournament virtually unknown, have survived and will fight for the $50,000 prize Thursday night at the Forum. Loser gets $10,000. . . . Also at the Forum Thursday night are a couple of lightweight tournament matches. Walter Sims will fight Chris Calvin, and Alvin Hayes will fight the ESPN champion, Edwin Curet. . . . The same night at the Irvine Marriott, in addition to the Puente-Sequera bout, six other heavyweights will be fighting. Among them, Irish Cecil Coffee fights David Yonko. . . . Former bantamweight contender Frankie Duarte will headline a show at the Reseda Country Club, Sept. 30. . . . Former bantamweight champion Albert Davila will probably get his promised shot at World Boxing Assn. titlist Miguel Lora next month.