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Back in the 1920's, the boroughs of New York, due in part to the economic times, were bulging with fistic talent. Ethnic rivalries between Jewish, Italian and Irish fighters created a healthy fanbase and, most importantly, placed bodies in seats in every fight venue on the east coast. Moreover, so deep was the talent pool that, fighters such as Ruby Goldstein, Sid Terris and Tony Vaccarelli were not only all world class top ten fighters but, from the same neighborhood.
Over the years, as greater opportunities replaced the need to sling leather in order to fill that emptiness in the belly, these tight-knit neighborhood rivalries all but vanished. However, half a century later, a blast of talent hit the west coast in the 126 lb. division which, not only took the pacific side by storm, but the world at large. But for these little guys...the world be hanged, for they were vying for bragging rights on historic turf. And for roughly six years, from '71 until '77, the seismic disturbance felt along the coast line and into Mexico could not be solely attributed to the San Andreas Fault, for there was a ruckus going on that could only be described as...
The West Coast Featherweight WarsBy Dan Hanley
Before we visit upon these battles of attrition that captivated every die-hard fan of the sweet science, one must understand that interest in the 126 lb. division began tamely enough on a club level between four prospects that were drawing a modest gathering and, who slowly began selling out the small fight venues. This is not to say the featherweight talent began and ended with these young pugs. Indeed, while top contenders Clemente Sanchez and Enrique Garcia were banging at the door, veterans like Frankie Crawford, Ray Echavarria and Raul Cruz were still knocking about, as well as upcoming hotshots, David Sotelo and Jose Luis Martin Del Campo. But it was the crowd that was nurturing their local prospects who gave credence to a pugilistic rivalry that eventually fanned the flames of war. And the four combatants who drew this rabid following were, Danny Lopez and Joe Medrano out of L.A., Arturo 'Tury' Pineda out of Mexicali and Valente Vera, fighting out of the border town of Tijuana.
Danny Lopez, of course, was the little brother of Ernie 'Indian Red' Lopez, who had lost in a world title bid to Jose Napoles the previous year. Lopez was a recognizable name and flaunted by the Olympic Auditorium's PR staff as he bowled them over in his first year as a pro. Ending with a perfect 8-0 record, all KO's, Lopez displayed good scalps shorn from Rafael Lopez and Frankie Granados on the end of his spear.
Joe Medrano of Chihuahua, Mexico and now trained by Jackie McCoy out of Los Angeles, also ended up 8-0 at the end of the year. And the 6 prone bodies this hard banging hot-shot left in his wake set up a healthy club rivalry with 'Little Red'.
Valente Vera of Zacapu, Mexico was the one every canny manager was watching. 13-0 with 13 KO's by the end of '71 and, with a KO over Memo Rodriguez on his resume, Vera was looking very dangerous and looking to invade the coast in search of greater dinero.
And finally, Tury 'The Fury' Pineda, the Olympic staff were now calling him. And without a doubt, Lopez's chief adversary in the brewing war. By the end of the year Pineda was riding an incredible KO streak behind a lethal left hook and, with wins over Chuck Spencer and Domi Manalang, things would be going full scale in '72.
1972The war moves into high gear in '72 as an international cartel of fighters from the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Canada and the Phillipines look to take the coast for their own. So let's sit back, examine the battles and relive a very, very big neighborhood rivalry.
Jan. 7 Tury Pineda vs. Masahiko Takahashi.....L.A.
Takahashi, looking to invade LA, chooses a rough beachhead in Pineda. Looking brilliant early on, Takahashi wilts under Pineda's resilient attack and is stopped in 7.
Mar. 10 Danny Lopez vs. Tury Pineda.....L.A.
Those in attendance at the sold out show at the Olympic are treated to an epic battle. In the 'Battle of the Teenyboppers', Lopez draws first blood in the simmering war. Stunning Pineda in the first round, Lopez is rocked from pillar to post in the second. They battle on even terms in the third before Pineda rocks Lopez again in the fourth, but finally succumbs to a single left hook from 'Little Red'.
May 11 Danny Lopez vs. Jose Luis Valdovinos.....L.A.
Another prospect falls in 4 before the power of the Utah bred Lopez.
May 11 David Sotelo vs. Apollo Yoshio.....L.A.
Yoshio, a future world title challenger, and with two recent KO's in L.A., finds the talent pool a little tougher on the next rung. Sotelo holds him to a draw and the Japanese fighter aborts his designs on the turf war.
May 19 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Clemente Sanchez KO's Kuniaki Shibata in 3 to take world Featherweight title.....Tokyo
May 25 Jose L. M. Del Campo vs. Vil Tumulak.....L.A.
Del Campo, 'the man with the colorful name', Jimmy Lennon used to say, reverses his only loss via 10 round decision.
July 1 Raul Cruz vs. Alberto Reyes.....Stockton
Slick Filipino Reyes slides to 5th straight win since making the coast his home via 12 round decision over veteran Cruz.
July 13 David Sotelo vs. Shig Fukuyama.....L.A.
Sotelo is devastating in 8th round KO over talented Fukuyama.
July 20 Danny Lopez vs. Benny Rodriguez.....L.A.
Lopez never gives the slick Rodriguez a chance to warm up as he blows him away in 1.
Aug. 12 Clemente Sanchez vs. Enrique Garcia.....Monterrey
Garcia upsets world champ Sanchez in non-title ten rounder. Screams for title rematch.
Aug. 31 Tury Pineda vs. Yoshinobu Goto.....L.A.
Making his second start on the coast, Goto's right leg reflexively raises throughout the ten rounds in a vain attempt to ward off Pineda's painful left hook to the body, as Tury romps to easy decision.
Sept. 7 Rafael Lopez vs. Shig Fukuyama.....L.A.
Fukuyama can't cut a break in this town, ahead on points he gets stopped in 9.
Sept. 11 Bobby Chacon vs. Valente Vera.....Anaheim
Vera, 20-0, 19 KO's, faces down newcomer 'Schoolboy' Bobby Chacon, 12-0, 11 KO's, in a heated affair. And Vera is exposed in 5 brutal rounds.
Sept. 21 Joe Medrano vs. Masahiko Takahashi.....L.A.
Medrano doesn't share the same problems with the Japanese as Pineda did, stopping him easily in 2.
Sept. 30 Jose Torres vs. Leoncio Meza.....Mexico City
New noise coming from south of the border as hard banging Torres takes out Meza in 6.
Oct. 5 Jose L. M. Del Campo vs. Rafael Lopez.....L.A.
Lopez can't capitalize on win over Fukuyama as hotshot Del Campo stops him in 3.
Nov. 9 Bobby Chacon vs. Ray Echavarria.....L.A.
Echavarria's claim to never having been down or out in 70 bouts ends here as Chacon is brutally efficient in 1st round massacre. Talk is getting loud over 'Schoolboy'.
Nov. 30 Joe Medrano vs. Jorge Rodriguez.....L.A.
Medrano absorbs four knockdowns and a onesided beating in 10 round loss to a fighter he stopped five months prior.
Dec. 3 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Enrique Garcia stopped in 6 in bid for Ernesto Marcel's WBA Featherweight title.....Panama City
Dec. 16 Clemente Sanchez vs Jose Legra.....Monterrey
Sanchez loses title on the scales but title bout allowed with WBC blessing. Cuban born Legra batters Sanchez to the canvas ten times before stopping him in the 10th round.
1973The entire west coast was now a major 126 lb. hotspot on the planet in '73 with the inclusion of veteran Bantams, Jesus (Chucho) Castillo, Ruben Olivares and Octavio (Famoso) Gomez, who had all recently joined the fray. And now, along with newcomers Art Hafey and Salvador Torres, the engagement was getting hotter. Some heads were turning as word and attention spread...while others were turning from the momentum of a left hook.
Jan. 17 Jose Torres vs. Goyo Vargas.....Mexico City
Future Featherweight champ Goyo Vargas' old man is none too shabby himself as he upsets big banger Torres over ten.
Feb. 15 Bobby Chacon vs. Tury Pineda.....L.A.
Chacon has much easier time with Pineda than Lopez. Losing only the 4th round, Chacon stops Pineda in 5 as Tury says 'adios' to 126.
Feb. 28 Bobby Chacon vs. Jose L. M. Del Campo.....L.A.
Del Campo screams 'early stoppage' as bout is stopped in 3 in favor of Chacon.
March WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Howie Steindler, manager of Danny Lopez, 17-0, 17 KO's, turns down $40,000 offer to fight fellow prospect, Bobby Chacon. "We're looking for a world title fight against Jose Legra, not a ten rounder with Bobby Chacon", says Steindler.
Mar. 30 Bobby Chacon vs. Frankie Crawford.....Anaheim
Chacon decks Crawford in the first, has trouble with the veteran late, but wins in a unanimous romp as he sets a mercurial pace in the wars.
Mar. 31 Salvador Torres vs. Raul Cruz.....Mexico City
Old warhorse Cruz takes hard punching brother of Jose the distance, but loses decision.
Mar. 31 Art Hafey vs. Valente Vera.....San Diego
Making his ninth start on the coast since departing Canada, Hafey joins the war at the front as he takes out big punching Vera in 4.
Apr. 28 Bobby Chacon vs. Chucho Castillo.....L.A.
Chacon has some anxious moments with Castillo in the middle rounds but rallies to stop the ex-Bantamweight boss in 10. On the undercard, another former 118 lb. king, Ruben Olivares, now campaigning at 126, stops the east coast's Walter Seeley in 2. I see war clouds brewing.
May 20 Art Hafey vs. Famoso Gomez.....L.A.
In his first start at 126, Gomez drops Hafey twice but is stopped in 6 on a cut eye. The latin fans are none too happy and Hafey leaves the ring under a hail of debris.
June 7 Joe Medrano vs. Leoncio Meza.....L.A.
Pre-fight favorite Medrano decked three times and blown away in the first round. Former prospect appears to be finished.
June 23 Bobby Chacon vs. Ruben Olivares.....Inglewood
Considered washed up since losing his Bantam crown, 10-8 underdog Olivares takes 'Schoolboy' Chacon to a school of higher learning. Despite his 19-0 tag with 17 KO's, Chacon cannot match late pace of Olivares. After being thumped around the mid-section during the earlier rounds and decked in the 4th and 9th, he is finally retired on his stool at the end of the 9th by sympathetic cornerman, Joe Ponce. There is a new but familiar gun in town at 126.....and he answers to the handle of 'Mr. Kayo'.
July 10 Valente Vera vs. Julio Leal.....Tijuana
Vera proves he's still got some sock left, after humbling defeats to Chacon and Hafey, as he takes the Baja state title from Leal in 3.
Sept. 4 Ruben Olivares vs. Art Hafey.....Monterrey
Party animal Olivares scoffs at the little Canadian and pays a painful price. Three knockdowns later, Hafey's hand is raised in 5.
Sept. 14 Jesus Estrada vs. Alberto Reyes.....Guadalajara
The factory south of the border appears to have produced another prospect in 'Papalero' Estrada as he stops the veteran Filipino, Reyes in 3.
Sept. 27 Danny Lopez vs. Goyo Vargas.....L.A.
Although a little quiet in '73, Lopez makes himself heard when he wants to, as he takes out Vargas in 1.
Oct. 11 Shig Fukuyama vs. Luis Hernandez.....L.A.
Fukuyama resurfaces to take out bright Mexican prospect Hernandez in 4.
Oct 13 Bobby Chacon vs. Jose L. M. Del Campo.....L.A.
Del Campo puts up spirited resistance after bad taste result first time around. Unfortunately for him, heart not quite enough against Chacon as a towel from the corner terminates activity in the 9th.
Oct. 25 David Sotelo vs. David Diaz.....L.A.
Sotelo looking to get back into the war with impressive 8th round stoppage of Diaz.
Nov. 6 Valente Vera vs. Rafael Lopez.....Tijuana
Vera successfully defends Baja state title against Lopez via 8th round stoppage.
Nov. 29 Shig Fukuyama vs. Leoncio Meza.....L.A.
Fukuyama proving to be a real force with 7 round stoppage of Medrano conqueror, Meza.
1974The conflict would reach its peak in '74, including the most epic of confrontations. But, for all the battles won, the war was still raging. And, as the old soldiers were dying off, new faces emerged, picking up the gauntlet left behind on the field of honor.
Jan. 10 Carlos Perez vs. Cesar Sinda.....L.A.
Carlos Perez, at 10-1-1 with 5 KO's, was already being called the 'Mexican Gene Fullmer'. Indeed, he looks the part as he takes apart full-fledged Lightweight Sinda in 4.
Jan. 17 Danny Lopez vs. Genzo Kurosawa.....L.A.
Kurosawa looking to invade L.A., succeeds in taking Lopez the distance for first time in his career.
Jan. ?? Jesus Estrada vs. Enrique Garcia.....Guadalajara
'Papalero' pounds out 12 round decision over former title challenger Garcia and takes Mexican 126 lb. title.
Feb. 4 Danny Lopez vs. Memo Rodriguez.....Mexicali
In what is called 'the Mexican ambush', Lopez, behind on points, rallies to stop tough hombre Rodriguez in the 10th and final round.
Feb. 13 Jose Torres vs. Tomas Frias.....Mexico City
Torres, displaying a wee bit of problems with boxers, takes out former conquerer Frias in 10.
Mar. 4 Ruben Olivares vs. Art Hafey.....L.A.
In a hotly anticipated rematch, Olivares whips himself into immaculate condition and requires it all. Picking himself off the canvas in the 10th, Olivares outboxes Irish Art for the NABF title on a 12 round split verdict.
Mar. 4 Bobby Chacon vs. Genzo Kurosawa.....L.A.
Chacon doesn't share Lopez's frustration with Kurosawa, as he stops him handily in 5.
Apr. 11 Carlos Perez vs. Shig Fukuyama.....L.A.
In what was to be a coming out party, turned into a 'we jumped the gun' fest, as veteran Fukuyama takes apart Perez in the 1st round.
May 20 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Art Hafey stopped in 5 by Alexis Arguello.....Managua
May 24 Danny Lopez vs. Bobby Chacon.....L.A.
For the US championship and the newly created 'City title', this was the fight everyone was waiting on. Two years in the making, the two combatants do not let the packed house down as they go at it hammer and thong. Controlling the action in mid-ring and utilizing the newly acquired body shots painfully learned in the Olivares fight, Chacon only falters in two rounds with Lopez pinning him against the ropes and letting loose with his full arsenal. Chacon weathers the attack and finally cuts loose at the beginning of the 9th finishing Lopez off at :48 seconds of the round. Could it get any better?
Jun. 29 Jesus Estrada vs. Enrique Garcia.....Guadalajara
Estrada goes one better in rematch for Mexican title, stopping outgunned Garcia in 10.
Jul. 7 Rosalio Muro vs. Goyo Vargas.....Mexico City
A new face emerges above sea level as Muro stops Vargas in 2.
Jul. 9 Ruben Olivares vs. Zensuke Utagawa.....Inglewood
Although having no designs on the west coast, Utagawa wants the world at his feet as he dukes it out with Olivares for the vacant WBA Featherweight title. Olivares lets no one in the Forum down as he brutally dispatches the Japanese in 7 amid chants of 'el campeon!'
Aug. 1 Shig Fukuyama vs. Carlos Becerril.....L.A.
Fukuyama has the Japanese faithful of L.A. in his pocket while continuing to amaze as he stops future world title challenger Becerril in 10.
Aug. 8 Danny Lopez vs. Masao Toyoshima.....L.A.
Toyoshima, a recent KO victor over Joe Medrano in Honolulu, drops Lopez early but pays a price for impertinence. Lopez stops the Japanese in 3.
Sept. 1 Ruben Olivares vs. Enrique Garcia.....Monterrey
Olivares is deadly in 5th round non-title battering of former Mexican champ Garcia.
Sept. 2 Valente Vera vs. Goyo Vargas.....Tijuana
Vargas pulls another rabbit out of his hat with 6th round stoppage of Vera.
Sept. 7 Bobby Chacon vs. Alfredo Marcano.....L.A.
The Olympic pulls a real coup in securing this vacant WBC title fight. In a competitive affair, Chacon takes out the tough former Jr. Lightweight champ with a single uppercut in the 9th. Olivares and Chacon now dual champs and the war drums are near ear-splitting.
Sept. 19 Danny Lopez vs. Shig Fukuyama.....L.A.
Poor Danny, where did it all go so wrong? In tough fight, both combatants cut in the 8th round. However, Lopez cannot come out for 9th due to liniment in his eye. Promoter Aileen Eaton had to be shaking her head.
Oct. 6 Ruben Olivares vs. Carlos Mendoza.....Juarez
Olivares, as usual, takes his non-title fights lightly, as he is dropped twice by the transplanted Panamanian who is now fighting out of Mexico. 'Rockabye Ruben' snaps out of it in time to take out the future world title challenger in the 6th.
Oct. 21 Rosalio Muro vs. Carlos Mimilla.....Mexicali
In what is called Mexico's Fight of the year, Muro stops Mimilla in 6 rounds.
Nov. 23 Ruben Olivares vs. Alexis Arguello.....Inglewood
In a battle of legends, the 5'10 Arguello takes a commanding lead over the 5'5 WBA champ, winning the first five rounds. It's all Olivares from there on however, even to the point of battering Arguello in the 10th and 12th. Ahead on points, Olivares walks into a left hook in the 13th and although he rises, it's all over moments later. Mega-buck duel with Chacon appears to be history.
Dec. 17 Art Hafey vs. Famoso Gomez.....Tijuana
Appropriately held at the downtown Tijuana bullring, Gomez turns matador and fends off a late round rally from the bull-like Hafey. 'Famoso' cops a close decision and avenges '73 loss to Irish Art.
1975All combatants had hit their stride by '75 and were queuing up for position. Not to mention the fans queuing up at the box office.
Jan. 18 Danny Lopez vs. Famoso Gomez.....Anaheim
'Little Red's' heartbreaking slide continues as he is completely outboxed over 10 rounds by the veteran 32 year old Gomez.
Feb. 22 Jose Torres vs. Enrique Garcia.....Mexico City
Torres batters former top contender Garcia in 5 rounds and is now looking northward.
Feb. 28 Joe Medrano vs. Carlos Perez.....San Diego
In what could have been billed as the 'Battle of the faded prospects', Medrano recaptures early fire and decimates Perez in 1 round.
Mar. 1 Bobby Chacon vs. Jesus Estrada.....L.A.
Estrada pins Chacon to the ropes in his bid for Bobby's WBC title and attempts to batter the crown loose from the champ. Bad career move!!!! Chacon gets mad and cuts loose leaving Estrada in a heap in the 2nd round.
Mar. 22 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Art Hafey KO's Alfredo Marcano in 4.....Caracas
Apr. 3 Jose Torres vs. Carlos Becerril.....L.A.
After taking an early lead, Becerril ends up straddled across the ropes in the 4th courtesy of one of the hardest bangers in the division.
Apr. 6 Famoso Gomez vs. Rosalio Muro.....Mexicali
Muro out to prove he's for real as he takes a split decision over Gomez over 10 rounds.
Apr. 17 Raul Cruz vs. Joe Medrano.....L.A.
Former contender Cruz still has a little bit left in the tank as he outpoints former prospect Medrano over 10.
Apr. 24 Danny Lopez vs. Chucho Castillo.....L.A.
'Lopez is back!' reads the headlines as 'Little Red' wipes out the former Bantam champ in 2 rounds.
Jun. 20 Bobby Chacon vs. Ruben Olivares.....Inglewood
The long anticipated rematch between these two Generals does not live up to expectations as Olivares, in brutally efficient mood, rips weight-drained Chacon to shreds in 2 rounds with a left hook that appears to be armed with a heat-seeker.
Jun. 20 Art Hafey vs. Yambito Blanco.....Inglewood
Blanco, from Nicaragua, no stranger to west coast rings. Having already duked it out over the past four years with Olivares, Estrada and Gomez and riding a crest, Blanco is unceremoniously annhilated by little Irish Art in 6 and sent to the hospital with facial injuries.
Jul. 5 Famoso Gomez vs. Rafael Herrera.....L.A.
Former Bantamweight champ, Herrera, trying to make a comeback at 126, leaves it too late as his late round assault cannot overcome the slick Gomez's early work over 10 rounds.
Jul. 18 Alexis Arguello vs. Rosalio Muro.....San Francisco
Arguello, now beginning to enjoy this California gig, takes out out-gunned Muro in 2 rounds in non-title affair.
Jul. 26 Danny Lopez vs. Raul Cruz.....L.A.
The experience of Cruz cannot match Lopez's fire as 'Little Red' takes out the Mexican in 6.
Aug. 16 Jose Torres vs. Saul Montana.....Mexico City
Nobody standing up to Torres' firepower, as he blows away former Bantam contender Montana in 3.
Aug. 30 Art Hafey vs. Salvador Torres.....Inglewood
Hafey batters his way through Jose's equally hard-punching brother and takes a solid 10 round nod.
Sept. 30 Ruben Olivares vs. David Kotey.....Inglewood
Olivares, looking like he trained in every Cantina on his way to the Inglewood Forum, sleepwalks his way through 15 rounds with the Commonwealth champ. Despite going down three times (although he was only counted on one), Olivares still holds Kotey to a split decision, but is an ex-champ nonetheless.
Dec. 4 Ruben Olivares vs. Danny Lopez.....Inglewood
Danny Lopez goes from faded prospect to top contender in the span of a year as he picks himself off the canvas in the first round to batter his idol Ruben Olivares and stop him in 7 rounds in non-stop thriller.
Dec. 21 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
David Sotelo loses 10 round non-title bout to David Kotey.....Accra
1976The battles, although still pitched, were fewer as the days of the war begin drawing to a close. One couldn't tell from the turnstyles however, for the warring factions were still drawing the inquisitive onlookers as well as the rabid fans. Moreover, a new gun appears in town by the name of Manny Lujan, a highschooler who has 'the height of Alexis Arguello and the looks of Mando Ramos'. And his added panache doesn't hurt the old box office intake at all.
Feb. 1 Alexis Arguello vs. Jose Torres.....Mexicali
World champ Arguello decides to hang around town a little longer than expected, but almost comes unstuck, as the rock-jawed Nicaraguan has to pick himself off the canvas to take non-title ten rounder over Torres.
Feb. 2 Salvador Torres vs. Rosalio Muro.....Mexico City
The Torres brothers are the talk of the Pacific side as Sal lifts the vacant Mexican 126 lb. title on 5th round KO over slick Muro.
Feb. 25 Bobby Chacon vs. David Sotelo.....L.A.
Chacon decides that killing himself at 126 is no longer worth it as he vacates the division after getting dropped twice and battered by Sotelo, but hanging on for razor close 10 round decision win.
Apr. 15 Art Hafey vs. David Sotelo.....L.A.
Hafey guns for revenge after Sotelo battering of good friend Bobby Chacon and succeeds in winning tough unanimous ten rounder.
Apr. 28 Danny Lopez vs. Famoso Gomez.....Inglewood
After dispatching undefeated prospect (29-0) and future Lightweight champ Sean O'Grady in 4 in February, Lopez's return to prominence cries for him to take care of unfinished business. And he is all business as he batters one time conqueror Gomez in 3 one-sided rounds.
Jun. 19 Alexis Arguello vs. Salvador Torres.....Inglewood
In last defense before vacating the WBA title, the division and the wars, Arguello takes out Torres in three brutal rounds.
Jul. 16 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Shig Fukuyama is stopped in 3 rounds by David Kotey in attempt at Kotey's WBC Featherweight title.....Tokyo
Aug. 6 Danny Lopez vs. Art Hafey.....Inglewood
In a bout the public had been clamboring for for some time, Lopez and Hafey lock horns at the Forum. However, except for two rounds where Hafey really cuts loose, the bout is one-sided traffic in favor of Lopez as Hafey's corner retires him after 7 rounds. Hafey also retires career after painful hammering.
Oct. 29 Jose Torres vs. Ney Gordillo.....Reynosa
Torres not letting Arguello defeat get him down, jumps back on the bike stopping south of the border prospect, Gordillo in 8.
Nov. 13 WARTIME NEWSFLASH:
Danny Lopez wins WBC Featherweight title on 15 round decision over David Kotey.....Accra
'Can't miss' prospect Manny Lujan tailspins after losing to veterans Ruben Coria and Julio Leal.
1977In the waning days of the war, there were two combatants whom had not yet met. And when they finally met for their 'duel in the sun', the final confrontation was a fitting epitaph for the six year engagement.
Feb. 26 Jose Torres vs. Rosalio Muro.....Mexico City
The final conflict brews as Torres blows out Muro in 8 rounds south of the border. Noise is at a fever pitch for a Lopez-Torres showdown.
Aug. 20 Ruben Olivares vs. Bobby Chacon.....Inglewood
Olivares-Chacon III is for old time's sake. Although both older and heavier and no longer forces at 126, they meet to tie up loose ends and they do not disappoint the crowd. In an exciting 10 rounder Chacon finally takes a win over Ruben, albeit diputed by the raucous crowd.
Sept. 13 Danny Lopez vs. Jose Torres.....L.A.
In one of the wildest shootouts before a west coast crowd and national TV audience to boot, Lopez and Torres go at it for coastal turf...oh, and for the WBC 126 lb. title. Lopez, bloodied and picking himself off the canvas in the second, drops Torres once in the 3rd, twice in the 4th before Torres roars back to take the 5th. With both suffering intense facial damage, Lopez's momentum takes over and ultimately, under heavy fire, Torres' corner compassionately pull their man from the contest at the end of the 7th.
Although losing his share of battles, it was Danny Lopez who won the war by virtue of being the last man standing. Displaying an armistice signed in blood, Lopez not only wore his crown proudly but, was now the proud possessor of bragging rights.
With the changing landscape of boxing, a coastal rivalry such as the Featherweight wars has since been deemed...unnecessary and become a thing of the past, consigned only to memory. But, who knows, perhaps we'll catch lightning in a bottle and the war clouds will brew once again in some small fight club in the Midwest, or the East coast, or in Europe. And when that day comes, my fellow Fightnuts...hang on for one wild ride.
See ya next round,
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