Good things don’t come to all who wait in boxing, but patient and steadfast David “Destroyer” Lopez might soon find himself on the lucky side of championship opportunities.
After his dominant unanimous decision win against respectable Michael Walker in a crowd pleasing main event on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo series Friday night, Lopez may have finally pounded his way into a title shot.
“I just want the chance to show what I can do against recognized champions,” said Lopez, a salt of the earth type from Nogales, Sonora Mexico. “I’ve been working very hard for a long time. Support from the people has kept my heart strong in the sport, but I think I should have earned the chance at a good payday by now.”
Lopez’s latest purse figures were unavailable, but it’s certainly not a stretch to suggest he’d be in a much improved income bracket if the name across from his on the next marquee was someone like Kelly Pavlik or Felix Sturm.
In the mean time, Lopez has built a sizeable southwest US following in places like Arizona and Texas. Friday’s card was a high energy, different type of street fight scene, outdoors at Ft. Worth’s Sundance Square, where Lopez has appeared before.
A couple years back it looked like Lopez, 35-12 (24) would get a big name cable show spotlight match against a recognized commodity like Kassim Ouma but the matchmaking cosmos never aligned Lopez’s way. He found himself in walkout bouts (the crowd always stuck around) on Golden Boy/Telefutura shows and got frustrated over his lack of TV time.
“It was certainly discouraging when I’d see fighters who’d put in a lot less work than I have getting on TV, but it didn’t keep me from training even more. I had to hope that Golden Boy would keep their promises to me, and they have.”
Lopez found himself fighting against lesser lights on smaller stages. He kept grinding out the wins and the roadwork.
Slowly but surely, Lopez became somewhat of a Solo Boxeo regular.
Lopez landed the featured undercard appetizer for the Joe Calzaghe - Bernard Hopkins bash, but a notable crossroads eliminator fizzled out. Instead, Lopez carried out business as usual with a 5th round TKO against opponent Ryan Davis.
It’s still a long shot to envision Lopez’s name penciled in against a big buck mark like Calzaghe or Hopkins. That doesn’t stop Lopez from continued work in that dedicated direction.
The contest against Walker, 157, could have turned out to be a tougher test than it was. Lopez, 158 1⁄4, used his experience to set a consistent, workable pace after an opening round where Walker looked ready to continue his then undefeated 18-0-2 run.
During the middle frames, Lopez, with a nicked right eye, fell back into bad habits and got sluggish. Lopez has made a ton of progress in the last six months, but before that he didn’t look like true title fight material.
Walker stayed in Lopez’s face, but Lopez landed thudding left counters up and down to get most of the points.
Lopez kept busy behind his 78’ southpaw jab. Action got sloppier as the bout progressed, but it was still probably Lopez’ most well rounded performance since he signed with Golden Boy Promotions a few years back.
Lopez has lately shown that he can rev up to another gear, but he’ll need even more to survive in boxing’s fast lane. He finished strong enough against Walker, but I had it much closer than the 98-92 score for Lopez all judges (Jesse Reyes, Oren Shellenberger, Neil Young) agreed on.
Just because hard working Lopez may get his gala grab at the end of the ringside rainbow doesn’t yet signify he’s anywhere near a lock to tackle somebody like Pavlik, Sturm, Edison Miranda or Winky Wright.
Lopez has been stopped nine times, but the last was in January of 2005 against a peaking Fulgencio Zuniga, and since then Lopez has an 11 bout win streak against moderate to quite decent opposition.
Lopez will find himself in over his head against elite middleweight range fighters regarding speed, style or strength. That bruising barricade won’t stop him from climbing.
Whoever Lopez might meet at the top, with his disciplined determination, he’d make a decent fight of it.
Another case of destroy or be destroyed.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?