Ricardo Lopez vs Rosendo Alvarez
This was the second title unification fight in the history of the 105-pound division. The first took place on August 23, 1997, when Lopez knocked out Alex Sanchez in five rounds to unify the WBC and WBO titles. After he defeated Sanchez, Lopez said he wanted to give his WBO championship belt to his father. The statement prompted the WBO to take away Lopez's title and sanction a match between Eric Jamili and Mickey Cantwell to fill the vacancy. "It was enough for us," said the WBO president, Francisco Valcarcel, of Lopez's intention. "That's a public resignation." Dwight Manley, Lopez's agent, said Lopez should have had a hearing before the WBO took away his title. "He got no letter, he got no telephone call," Manley said. Michael Katz of the New York Daily News said Alvarez "seemed to be robbed" and called Lopez "overrated." The draw against Alvarez was the only blemish on the record of Lopez, who retired in 2001 with a record of 51-0-1.
Pedro Fernandez of the Cyber Boxing Zone reported:
WBC officiating deserves some additional rapping with the technical draw decision rendered in the 105 lb. title fight between unbeatens Rosendo Alvarez of Nicaragua and WBC poster boy Ricardo Lopez.
Alvarez was not in awe of the fact that he was facing a man who hadn't lost a fight in his life with 41 amateur wins coming before his 46 straight pro victories.
Adding luster to the 46 wins were 21 successful defenses of the WBC 105 lb. belt where Lopez of which Lopez lost maybe half a dozen rounds total.
But this night was going to be different as was indicated when Alvarez, 24-0-1, 16 KO's, came out and won the opening stanza by making Ricardo miss and land counter punches. It was quite clear that Lopez was a bit unraveled when he went back to the corner after the round.
The real wake up call came 15 seconds into the second round when Alvarez landed a right counter over a Lopez jab that put Ricardo down hard for the first time in his life.
From that point forward, El Finito was El Tenativ-o and rarely initiated any exchanges with the WBA titilist from Managua. Lopez had his moments, winning the third and fourth by real close margins on my card.
In the seventh round the two fighters butted heads and the result was a bad cut. The referee Arthur Mercante Sr. following WBC rules then took a point away from the uncut fighter or Alvarez in this case.
The fight resumed and the cut worsened. When the round ended, the Lopez corner headed by Nacho Berastein, opted to not work on the cut. Berastein was confidant Lopez was ahead and he prodded the ringside physician to stop the fight, which he did.
It then took an estimated 15 minutes to tally the scorecards of the three judges! Fifteen minutes to add up the scores, while the fight itself lasted only 21 minutes!
When the scores were announced, Tommy Kazmarek of New Jersey had Lopez ahead 67-64, while another judge favored Alvarez 68-63. The third judge was Las Vegan Dalby Shirley who ruled the bout 66-66, a draw.
I felt Alvarez was not only in control, but that he was getting his second wind. All this spelled disaster for Lopez, who is now 46-0-1, 35 KO's, and his corner knew it. Maybe Ricardo can never beat Alvarez, but at least in the eyes of the WBC their "butt" rule saved his bacon.
The "WBC butt" rule deducting a point from the uncut fighter when an accidental butt occurs, deprived Rosendo Alvarez of a victory much like it cost Frankie Randall the WBC 140 lb. diadem when he rematched Julio Cesar Chavez a few years ago.
WBC President Jose Sulaiman has defended that rule time and again. He says the fighter who is cut is at an extreme disadvantage. Yeah Jose, but only if the fight continues.
Although I think the WBC has made incredible headway in the safety of the fighters. But what occurred last night was nothing short of another travesty in boxing.