Former junior welterweight contender Hector Lopez was found dead in his Mexico City home on Monday, Oct. 25, the victim of heart failure due to an apparent drug overdose, RingTV.com has learned. He was 44.
Lopez, who had a history of violence, drug abuse and general lawlessness during his up-and-down pro career, turned pro in 1985 after winning a silver medal in the the 1984 Olympic Games and soon relocated to Southern California, where he was fan favorite at the Great Western Forum.
Lopez, who finished his career with 41-7-1 (23) record in 2000, challenged for major titles three times unsuccessfully. The tough-but-skilled boxer-brawler dropped a unanimous decision to then-undefeated WBC lightweight titleholder Miguel Angel Gonzalez in 1993. He lost a thrilling split decision to Sammy Fuentes in a bid for the WBO 140-pound title in '95. And he was stopped in the ninth round by then-undefeated KO artist Randall Bailey in another try for the WBO belt in '99.
Lopez, who possessed underrated technique and footwork, also fought future undisputed junior welterweight champ Kostya Tszyu in '94. Lopez gave the recent hall-of-fame inductee all he could handle en route to dropping a 10-round decision. Tszyu has said that it was one of the toughest bouts of his career.
Lopez, who was deported to his native Mexico City after a prison stint early last decade, is survived by his former wife Norma and his two sons, Adam and Hector Jr., both of whom are amateur boxers in the Los Angeles area.