CALLER.COM > Moody grad's sparring routine packs a punch
CORPUS CHRISTI — A glance down the list of boxers who have stepped into the ring against Alfonso Lopez won't qualify as a who's who of practitioners of the Sweet Science.
The 18 men who have squared off against the Corpus Christi native had a combined record of 172-191-16 at the time of their fight. Finding quality opposition has been a difficult chore for Lopez and manager John Harris.
That hasn't been the case with Lopez's sparring partners in Houston, which have included former NABF light heavyweight champion Chris Henry, super middleweight contender Marcus "Too Much" Johnson and cruiserweight contender Felix "Bad News" Cora, who fought on the most recent "Contender" reality show on Versus.
"Working with those guys, top guys that have been doing it since they were 5 years old, the work is high, it's intense. It's a fight every other day," said the 27-year-old Lopez, who will risk his 18-0 record with 15 knockouts against Laredo's Gabriel Holguin in Saturday night's "Young Guns: The Undefeated" fight card at the American Bank Center.
"You're in a six-round fight every other day. That's how my skills have gotten better is just working with top-level guys who are already signed with big-time promoters, already getting the big fights, already getting on TV," the Moody High School graduate said.
"Me working with them, that's how I've progressed as a fighter."
While his stablemates have helped hone his skills outside of competition Lopez's opponents rarely have, well, put up much of a fight. Only four of his 18 fights have gone the distance and only once in his past 10 bouts.
"It's been frustrating. With me not being signed to a big-time promoter it's a little difficult for me and my team that supports me to get those bigger fights, to get those opponents that maybe we can pay for," said Lopez, who will be fighting in his hometown for just the fourth time. "It's kind of hard to get them down here. We have to lowball them, I guess, to get those fights.
"It gets a little tough at that point," Lopez said. "But I think as long as we're staying busy, picking good veterans, tough guys that have fought tough guys and we do what somebody does to them and we do it better, I think it's beneficial to us."
Lopez will get his shot in an eight-rounder against Holguin, a 29-year-old with a 25-7 record and one knockout. Holguin has run the gamut in weight classes since turning professional in 2000, starting out as a 144-pounder. In his past six bouts Holguin has checked in at least at 200 pounds, including a win and a loss against Kingsville's Homer Fonseca. The contract for the Lopez-Holguin fight calls for a 175-pound weight limit.
The two have fought one common opponent. Lopez defeated Anthony Greely in 2008 when Greely retired after the third of six scheduled rounds. Holguin scored a unanimous four-round decision over Greely three years earlier.
"He's moved up and down in weight so he's fought big guys and he's fought a bunch of small guys. He's probably still pretty quick and pretty strong," Lopez said. "But he's the best guy that I'm going to fight on my record. He's 25-7. But him being a pure boxer I don't think he can outbox me. I've got to beat him at his own game."