Lopez (42-6, 39 KO) is of Ute Indian, Mexican and Irish heritage, and became extremely popular in Southern California, building his name in Los Angeles when his pro career started in 1971. After winning his first 21 fights, he lost to Bobby Chacon in 1974, and lost a couple of fights to Shig Fukayama ('74) and Octavio Gomez (1975).
The loss to Gomez was the only one of his career that went the distance.
After the loss to Gomez, he really hit his stride. He stopped Chucho Castillo and Ruben Olivares, then beat Oklahoma tomato can buster Sean O'Grady so badly that O'Grady's corner stopped it after four rounds. He avenged his loss to Gomez (KO-3), and then in 1976 outpointed David Kotey to win the WBC featherweight strap.
He would defend the title against Jose Torres, Kotey, Jose Francisco de Paula, Juan Domingo Malvarez, Fel Clemente, Roberto Castanon, Mike Ayala (1979 Fight of the Year) and Jose Caba before losing it to the great Salvador Sanchez in February 1980. Four months later, the two rematched, and Sanchez beat Lopez again.
Lopez retired after the second loss to Sanchez, but talked of coming back in 1985. It didn't happen, but he did give it a go at age 40 in 1992. Lopez was knocked out in two by Jorge Rodriguez, who would go on to lose his next ten fights and retire with a record of 11-35-2 (4 KO).
On June 13, 2010, "Little Red" will take his rightful place in the Canastota Hall.
Joining Lopez this year:
- Junior flyweight champion Jung-Koo Chang, the first South Korean in the Hall
- Manager Shelly Finkel
- Referee/commissioner Larry Hazzard
- Promoter Wilfried Sauerland
- Matchmaker Bruce Trampler
- Boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr.
- Light heavyweight Lloyd Marshall
- Featherweight champion Young Corbett II
- Lightweight champion Rocky Kansas
- Heavyweight Billy Miske
- Broadcaster Howard Cosell
- Pioneer Paddington Tom Jones