This past Saturday Acelino ‘Popo’ Freitas quit in a fight he was within a point or two - according to the scorecards at the time - of winning. The night before David Lopez won a fight in which he boxed seven rounds with a broken hand and won every round of the bout to win a minor title. With less than a hiccup being heard from most media regarding David’s great feat, there has been a serious belch coming out from the same scribes about Freitas’ actions.
Without beating a dead horse, or beating a beat fighter, it seems to be the general consensus that the manner in which Freitas found a way out of Showtime’s main event was less than acceptable. With all the uproar that has been raised due to Freitas quitting against Diego Corrales it seems nobody has taken the time to mention that the exact opposite occurred the day before. It wasn’t a major title fight and wasn’t seen by millions on HBO or Showtime. What it was, however, was a tremendous exhibit of heart, will and determination.
Acelino Freitas, I’d like you to meet David Lopez. Lopez fought seven of twelve rounds against veteran Kirino Garcia with a broken left hand in the main event of ESPN’s Friday broadcast. Lopez is a southpaw and his left hand is his power punch. He packs a bit of a wallop and knocked down Garcia with a heavy left that dropped Garcia like a sack, breaking broke his own hand in the process. While Freitas took the easy route out of his bout with Corrales, Lopez took the route less traveled and fought on, boxing exclusively with his right hand jab and hook just as a fighter should, and was awarded the lightly regarded IBA Middleweight title for his efforts.
David Lopez is a fighter with 12 losses to go with 24 wins. His career was on the fast route to nowhere before his persistence paid off. Since his 12th career defeat, Lopez has gone on to beat Sam Hill (15-3-1 at the time), Fernando Zuniga (22-6-0), Lonnie Bradley (29-0-1), Jerson Ravelo (13-0-0), and now tough veteran Garcia.
While David Lopez may never be mistaken for the gifted power-punching Brazilian Freitas, the same could be said of Freitas not being mistaken for the native of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. Lopez may be on the Yellow Brick Road wishing he only had a little more natural talent, but Freitas could be found singing for a heart.
Granted, you could make a case for Freitas doing the right thing in a fight that he was starting to let get away from him. ‘Chico’ Corrales was beginning to find his range and land heavy shots as Freitas slowed with the passing of each round and the punches exacted their toll on his body. However, it is worth noting that ‘Popo’ was still winning the fight on one card and losing by slim one and two-point margins according to the other judges when he choose to walk away.
The fact remains that he possesses what may be the heaviest right hand in the sport – on a pound-for-pound basis – and was in against a fighter who had tasted the canvas three times in his past two fights and was dropped five times by Floyd Mayweather.
In reality, one punch in the last two rounds could have changed the outcome of the entire fight, but Freitas erased that opportunity and surrendered his championship belt and undefeated professional record rather than take that chance. I can’t imagine David Lopez doing anything similar to that, one arm or not.