Lopez rediscovers fountain of youth
Lake Tahoe appears to have provided Tony “The Tiger” Lopez” a fountain of youth.
The former three-time world boxing champion may get his chance at No. 4 after an impressive third-round knockout over Jamie Ocegueda on Saturday at Caesars Tahoe.
Fighting in Stateline for the tenth time and in front of a partisan crowd of 1,200, the Sacramentan did not disappoint. He rocked Ocegueda to his heels in the first round, then had him cornered and seriously hurt in the second. Early in the third round, Lopez put his foe flat on his back with an overhand right. Ocegueda quickly got back on his feet, but the Tiger pounced on him, pummeling him against the ropes until referee Mitch Halpern stopped the fight.
Lopez, 35, moved down in weight for the bout to 140 pounds, his lowest since March 1996, when he lost his third straight fight and decided to retire. This was the fifth straight win in his comeback, his first knockout since May 1997 and it was clearly his best performance.
“I feel so strong at this weight, I will keep fighting at it,” Lopez said afterward.
With the win, he captured the North American Boxing Union title belt. He hopes to get a title shot against World Boxing Organization champ Vince Phillips. And he certainly will get an invitation to fight for Forum Boxing, which televised the event live in Southern California.
“We’re going to have to scramble now,” Forum President John Jackson said to co-workers after Lopez scored the early knockout. A stand-by bout, a six-round decision victory by unbeaten light heavyweight Julio Gonzalez, made an emergency prime-time appearance. Afterward, Jackson said,” We fully anticipated the Lopez fight to go 12 rounds.”
Until the line changed when Lopez’s fans made it to the sportsbook, the former champ was a slight underdog to the younger Ocegueda.
While Lopez was sharp in the first round, he took four straight power punches from Ocegueda in the second. “That’s when I woke up,” Lopez said. Less than a round later, he put Ocegueda to sleep.
Lopez, 54-7-1 with 36 knockouts and 10-0 in Stateline, could possibly fight next in November for Forum Boxing. Ocegueda is now 20-3-4. Lopez earned $10,000 and Ocegueda $8,000.
In the co-feature, former world junior featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera had an easy time stopping Pedro Torres with a fourth-round knockout.
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