If There's A Barry McGuigan, Then Where's Danny "Little Red" Lopez?

24.06.05 - By Jim Amato: Sorry...I just could not get over this one. I tried but but I could not come to terms with it. When it was first announced that Barry McGuigan was being inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2005 I was a bit surprised. Obviously to me there were more deserving potential inductees. Then it hit me. Hit me like a ton of bricks. How could McGuigan be inducted while Danny "Little Red" Lopez is still on the outside looking in?

This is not a personal vendetta against Barry McGuigan. He was exciting and popular. He seems like a fine chap but his career accomplishments do not merit inclusion among the greatest fighters of all time. That is what a Hall Of Fame is supposed to represent. Lately I am begining to question the I.B.H.O.F. election process. What is the criteria for induction ? How could McGuigan be voted in before Danny Lopez ?

McGuigan beat an aging great in Eusebio Pedroza. He defended against decent challengers Bernard Taylor and Danilo Cabrera and then he lost his title to Stevie Cruz. Barry was never a major player again. Truth be told it is very likely that he was not even the best featherweight in the world while he held his piece of the title. Azumah Nelson was held in higher regard and although Azumah pursued a match with Barry it never came to pass. Too bad, it could have been a thriller.

Now let's look at the career of Danny Lopez. He won his first twenty three fights leading to showdown with West Coast rival Bobby Chacon. Danny was halted in nine rounds. In less the nine months he lost two more times to Shig Fukuyama and Octavio Gomez. Then Danny turned things around. He reeled off seven straight victories. All by knockout ! Former champion ChuChu Castillo KO-2, veteran contender Raul Cruz KO-6, Antonio Nava KO-6, the great Ruben Olivares KO-7, future lightweight champion Sean O'Grady KO-4.

Then came a return match with Octavio Gomez who he destroyed in three rounds. Then he battered the rugged Art Hafey into submission in seven rounds. That was quite a run and it qualified him for a shot at W.B.C. featherweight champion David Kotey. To get his crack at Kotey, Danny had to meet him in his home country of Ghana. It did not matter to Danny who walked away with a decision and the title.

Now Danny would make eight successful defenses of the title. He stopped Kotey in a rematch. He blasted out Roberto Castanon in two rounds. He fought the 1979 Fight Of The Year halting the dead game Mike Ayala in the fifteenth and final round of a true thriller. Eventually he lost the title to a virtual unknown named Salvador Sanchez. Danny would fail in an attempt to regain the title from Sanchez and then retire. Before his tragic death August 12, 1982, Sanchez would forge a legend.

Danny lost his crown to a legend, Barry lost his to Stevie Cruz who does not have nearly the same stature as a Salvador Sanchez. I just don't see the justice here. Maybe the I.B.H.O.F needs to revise and restructure their election procedure. Only the best, the ABSOLUTE best should be enshrined.

Article posted on 25.06.2005

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