Álvaro Yaqui López is a former Mexican boxer and current member of the Boxing Hall of Famr…who was a very popular Mexican fight fans….was a native of Zacatecas, Zacatecas….as López is considered many as one of the greatest Light Heavyweights to never become world champion.
The fascinating story of López starts with his birth under a bull ring in the Plaza de Toros San Pedro in Zacatecas, Zacatecas, Mexico. He was raised for 14 years underneath the seats in an adobe garage of the famous bullring….as a young López had dreams of becoming a Matador….but those dreams were shattered when as a teenager…..he got a shot at fighting a bull….when after about four or five passes….the bull drove his horn into his ankle which shattered it…..which led Lopez to the boxing ring where he had an amateur career with a record of 13-3. At the Diamond Belt Championship in Eureka, California….he knocked out the defending champion to win the title. A lot of Native Americans were at the event and asked his trainer Jack Cruz if Álvaro was Native American….to which Cruz lied and told them that López was of Yaqui heritage. In April 1972, Álvaro faced the veteran Herman Hampton to win his pro debut. The bout was held at the Civic Auditorium in Stockton, California.
On October 9, 1976, López lost a very disputed decision to world champion John Conteh….a fight believed by many who attened that thought López had pulled off the upset….as the fight was held in Denmark. Yaqui then met Víctor Galíndez in two installment for the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately for López the fights were also held in this champions home, Italy. Both bouts went the distance and Álvaro was robbed again in the eyes of most boxing writers. He was one of the very few boxers of his time to challenge James Scott at the Rahway State Prison.
López would later fight in the Ring Magazine’s 1980 Fight of the Year against WBC Light Heavyweight Champion, Matthew Saad Muhammad. The first half of the fight was dominated by López….with all three score cards very close up until the fourteenth round….when Yaqui ran out of gas and was stopped. In Lopez’s last world title attempt….he would lose to the much younger WBC Cruiserweight Champion, Carlos De León. López would then wait almost a year and fight Bash Ali, before retiring from boxing.
Lopez is a member of both California Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He has his own gym named after him, Yaqui Lopez’s Fat City Boxing. During Álvaro’s career he faced Víctor Galíndez, Mike Rossman, Mike Quarry, Tony Mundine, Jesse Burnett, James Scott, S. T. Gordon, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Carlos De León, Michael Spinks, and John Conteh….ending his career with 61 wins, 15 losses and 39 KO’s.
This fight with Michael Spinks was a slugfest and a great fight until it ended as a result of The Spinks Jinx”.