Smooth, cool collective calm demeanor, brilliant, and a Champions heart that out-weighed his own stature & physique, Ricardo ‘Finito’ Lopez (51-0-1, 38KO) was the epitome of a great Champion. While there is no such thing as absolute perfection in this world, there is a such thing as virtual perfection within the boundaries of completion, or in this case, being a complete fighter void of any shortcomings, and that is exactly what Finito embodied throughout all of his 16 year career.
His balance was perfect, combination punching ability was spot on, and was a master of distances, understanding who and what he was up against, and putting himself into proper position to get his shots off with the right range to let off the snap of his punches to get the full force on them. There was nothing flashy about his defense, but his arm positioning was textbook, and his awareness was what enabled him to think 5 steps ahead of his opponents.
There was once a time where the lower weight divisions wouldn’t get any publicity, and every once in a while, boxing publications would draft up articles so that we as readers could have some type of idea what was going on, in terms of following the names of the fighters. That however changed when Ricardo Lopez came into his own and fully stepped to the forefront of the Strawweight division, dominating all fighters he was up against. Seeing this, Promoter Don King made a calculated gamble to cast Lopez as the opener on some 💲Pay-Per-View undercards and being the headliner to some televised events that started the breaking of the mold to where Lopez talents shined through, leaving watchers at home and people in attendance of his fights in awe and amazement and wanting to see more of what he had to offer.
His journey started back in 1985 at the age of 18, and found himself under the tutelage of Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Beristain, who when you look through the years, should REALLY be credited as the mastermind in shifting the narrative of Mexican boxers and bringing forth a more technical approach for their warriors. With that stated, Finito was without a doubt his greatest student. Rising up the ranks, he got his first opportunity at a World Title and did not disappoint, defeating quality Japanese fighter Hideyuki Ohashi via TKO to become the new LINEAL & WBC Strawweight World Champion in 1990. His string of dominance started here, evidenced by how he defeated contenders. He either won his bouts by virtual shut-out Unanimous Decisions, or by Knockout, further indicating how ahead he was of the pack, and him establishing firm control over his division not just by distinction, but through performance as well. In what was his record 20th Title defense, he was able to finally unify titles by facing fellow Titlist Alex Sanchez, who he completely dominated from opening bell, leading up to a 5th round TKO, pairing the WBO Minimumweight title with his long held WBC World Title.
Ricardo’s next fight was an interesting one, and was the first fight in his career where he faced some actual push-back from an opponent, that being undefeated big talent & WBA Champion Rosendo Alvarez. Rosendo put down Finito in the second round, a shocker, but Lopez got up and worked his way into the fight, with Rosendo bringing the action with him. An accidental headbutt opened a cut over Lopez right eye in the 8th round of the fight, to where the fight was stopped by the Doctors, an unfortunate occurrence around the time when the fight was really starting to become competitive. The bout was ruled a Draw, and both Champions kept their Titles. I personally felt up to that point that Rosendo was a little ahead on the scorecards in their fight, and I wasn’t the only one, with many eyebrows raised as to the result of the decision.
Fortunate for us, we didn’t have to wait long for the rematch, being that it manifested 8 months later. For this one, Rosendo Alvarez shamelessly weighed more than 3 lbs! over the limit, so he was stripped of his WBA Title going in, with only Lopez eligible to win it. While that was a travesty, we ended up getting a great fight that was as competitive as the first one, though Lopez made it more clear in establishing better control of the fight, and pulling slightly ahead in the action, but with Rosendo matching him step-for-step. The judges seemed to be in accordance with my initial though, as they awarded Ricardo Lopez the Split-Decision victory to further make a statement to the boxing world, and to convince the doubters surrounding the first bout. While Alvarez lost, he further established his position as one of the Strawweight divisions greatest talents simply due to being able to keep up with Lopez, who had already established himself as an All-Time-Great by that point. That was the last time that Ricardo fought at Strawweight, so he moved himself up a division, and took an immediate shot at a World Title in fighting IBF Light-Flyweight World Champion Will Grigsby. Lopez defeated Grigsby by decisive Unanimous Decision to become a 2-Division Champion. Lopez defended his title on the undercard of Felix Trinidad/Fernando Vargas by way of 2nd round knockout over long-time good Champion Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, and defended his title one more time before ending his career on Bernard Hopkins/Felix Trinidad’s PPV card, ending his career with a Knockout Victory. Ricardo Lopez had retired at the age of 34, unbeaten, fulfilled when it came to his legacy, and with his full health in tact. He was a true virtuoso. These days you can see Lopez as a full-time 🎤Boxing Broadcaster in Mexico. Here are a list of his many accomplishments. 🖼️
– Put Together a 41-0 Record in the Amateurs (Varying Reports)
– Lineal Strawweight World Champion (1990-1999) Nearly a Ten Year Span
– Won 25 World Title Fights, Half of His Total Career Wins
– Had 21 Title Defenses at Strawweight (All-Time Strawweight Record)
– Won 22 Lineal Strawweight Fights (All-Time Strawweight Record)
– T-Record 26 Straight Title Fights Without a Loss (Mayweather Jr. & Louis)
– 4X World Champion (LINEAL, WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF)
– 2-Division World Champion (Strawweight, Light-Flyweight)
– Beat 6 Fighters Who Were Undefeated Leading up to Their Fight
– Defeated 10 Boxers Who Were World Champions to Remain Undefeated
– Seen by a Contingent of Pundits to be the Greatest Mexican Boxer Ever
– Viewed by Some as the Best Fighter of the 1990’s
– Universally Regarded as thee Greatest Strawweight of All-Time
– Heralded by Most as the Greatest Light-Flyweight of All-Time
– International Boxing Hall-of-Fame (Inducted First-Ballot in 2007)
SIGNATURE MOMENT – His outstanding all-around performance against Alex Sanchez, knocking him out to unify Strawweight World Titles.
NOTABLE WINS – Rosendo Alvarez, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, Saman Sorjaturong, Alex Sanchez, Hideyuki Ohashi, Will Grigsby.
NOTABLE DRAWS – Rosendo Alvarez.