Tony "The Tiger" Lopez (born February 24, 1963), is a former professional boxer from Sacramento, California. He was a 3-Time World Boxing Champion. He is remembered for his victory in the 1988 The Ring Fight of the year by decision over Rocky Lockridge. He also fought against the Mexican legend Julio César Chávez in 1994 in Monterrey. He lost by TKO. Tony Lopez is now retired from boxing and runs a bail bond agency in Sacramento.
With his father a former pro and his older brother Sal already boxing in the amateurs, it wasn't much of a stretch for precocious little Tony to follow in their footsteps. However the way it all started was a little bizarre. Ten year old Tony was about to have an altercation near his house, when a car pulled up. Inside were big brother Sal and Jerry Jacobs, Sal's trainer, who was driving. Jacobs yelled "if you want to box, hop in." More than a little curious because of his family's involvement in the sport, the little tiger jumped in the back seat. This would take Tony on a journey in the punch-for-pay business, lasting 16 years. No one seems to know what happened to Tony's neighborhood opponent that day. If he wanted to continue the fight, his only option would have been to shadow box.
Over the next several years Jerry Jacobs would school Tony in the intricacies of the sport and his pupil proved to be an excellent student. He must have absorbed the lessons well; his [mal amateur record was 47 and 2 and ranked #6 in the U.S. amateur standings. Sadly, personal issues in Jacobs's life prevented him from being Tony's trainer in the pros. During our interview Tony raised the question, do trainers make fighters or fighters make trainers? One thing is for sure: Lopez had the highest respect for Jerry and the skills he taught him. After nine years as an amateur, Tony was a polished boxer/puncher, not the over anxious ten year old boy who had his first fight in Reno, Nevada.
On May 3, 1983 Tony turned pro in Sacramento against Juan Rodriguez of San Juan, PR, and a veteran of 14 pro bouts. It didn't take Lopez long to figure out Rodriguez, dropping him with a right to the head in the first minute of round one. Rising on unsteady legs the out-of -Towner blocked a left hook with his jaw, tasting the canvas for a second time. His comer wisely tossed in the towel, saving their charge from further punishment.
It didn't take Lopez long to build up a 12 and 0 record with only two going the distance. Having an outstanding older brother boxing certainly opened some doors for Tony, but once inside he had to produce.
As for the fight itself, it was voted Ring Magazine's fight of the year. "I was standing in the hall waiting for the TV people to call me into the ring. Over 15,000 people were shouting Tony, Tony, Tony, I felt like the cement floor was vibrating beneath my feet." At the sound of the first bell, Lockridge rushed across the ring and tried to bull the home town boy into the ropes. Commentators Gill Clancy and Tim Ryan were amazed at Lopez's response. Clancy stated "it looks like two baby bulls in the ring; this Lopez kid is also strong." Fighting behind a stinging left jab and overhand rights Lopez seemed to control the first round. In the second the challenger started dropping straight right hands through the champ's defense, rocking him on several occasions.
Growing up in the south side of Sacramento, Tony was fortunate to have a family with strong values. His father Solomon (Sal Sr.) instilled a strong work ethic in his children. His mother Rachel was an excellent homemaker and a great cook. Most evenings found the entire family at the dinner table talking about the day's events. Brother Sal Jr. was a ranking contender and a retired counselor from the State of California. His sisters Rosemary and Diane worked for University system and medical field respectively. Loving parents is a big advantage in the race for life!
In retirement, Tony is a successful business owner of Tony "The Tiger" Bail Bonds, Inc. Judging by the number of employees working for him and activity in his offices, business is going well. Early in his new line of work he met a very pretty process server, who would become his lovely wife Cathy. There is one otherbeautiful girl in Tony's life: his daughter, Tatiana. Tony Lopez is a class act and a pleasure to be around.