Hall of Fame Friday: Danny “Little Red” Lopez
THE RING magazine features a thumbnail biography of a ring great who has received the ultimate honor: induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.
Birthdate: June 6, 1952
Birthplace: Fort Duchesne, Utah
Nickname: Little Red
Weight class: Featherweight
Record: 42-6 (39 knockouts)
Title Held: WBC featherweight
Best performances: David Kotey (W 15, KO 6), Mike Ayala (KO 15), Sean O’Grady (KO 4), Ruben Olivares (KO 7), Art Hafey (KO 7), Roberto Castanon (KO 2), Arturo Pineda (KO 4), Kenji Endo (KO 2), Benny Rodriguez (KO 1), Chucho Castillo (KO 2).
Year of IBHOF induction: 2010
Background: One of the hardest-punching featherweights of all time .. Of mixed Ute Indian, Mexican and Irish heritage ÔÇª Spent most of hard-scrabble childhood in foster homes ÔÇª Began amateur career at age 16 ÔÇª Followed older brother, welterweight contender Ernie “Big Red” Lopez, into the pros, making his debut in May 1971 at Los Angeles’ legendary Olympic Auditorium, a venue where he would soon become a fan favorite ÔÇª Won first 22 bouts, 21 by knockout, including victories over the previously undefeated pair of Arturo Pineda and Benny Rodriguez … Streak ended when he was stopped by Bobby Chacon in May 1974 in front of a crowd of 16,000 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena ÔÇª Suffered defeats in two (Shig Fukuyama and Octavio Gomez) of his next three bouts following the Chacon loss, but would not lose again until 1980 .. December 1975 brawl with Ruben Olivares saw him down before rallying to KO Olivares in the seventh round … Stopped previously undefeated and future WBA lightweight titleholder Sean O’Grady in February 1976 and avenged loss to Gomez in April ÔÇª Won WBC featherweight title by unanimous 15-round decision over David Kotey in front of approximately 100,000 fans at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana ÔÇª Exciting give-and-take style (“I only knew how to fight one way … I’d just keep punching until I knocked my opponent out”) soon made him a staple of network TV ÔÇª Tallied eight successful title defenses (seven by KO), the most famous of which was 15th-round knockout of Mike Ayala that was THE RING’s 1979 Fight of the Year ÔÇª Lost title to Salvador Sanchez in February 1980 ÔÇª Retired after losing rematch with Sanchez but returned for one final bout in January 1992, hanging up his gloves for good after being KO’d in the second round ÔÇª Worked construction jobs after retiring from the ring … Selected by THE RING in 2003 as the 26th best puncher of all time.