Boxing Snippets

Tony Lopez vs. Brian Mitchell 2

Tony Lopez vs. Brian Mitchell 2
Date/ Venue: September 13, 1991/ Arco Arena, Sacramento, California
Titles: IBF junior lightweight
BY ANSON WAINWRIGHT
“Although the first fight was fairly close, we were all confident Mitchell had won. At the final bell I jumped into the ring and Cedric Kushner turned to me and said, ‘Don’t get too excited, you’re being robbed. They’ve given a draw.’ By the time I reached Brian, I realized we’d get a rematch, so it was a double whammy. Mitchell was naturally ecstatic in his corner, he was certain he had won. I said, ‘Brian, not so fast you’ve been robbed.’ He started yelling, so I said, ‘You’re going to get a rematch!’ He immediately realized the ramifications of a second fight, and this is the sharpness of Brian Mitchell.
“[For the first fight] there must have been 8,000 to 10,000 fans in the Arco Arena booing and screaming abuse when he made his ring walk. But by the time of the second fight he was well-respected, the local fans recognizing his brilliance.
“Before the second fight Mitchell had vacated the WBA title as he would have had to make a mandatory defense. That would have forfeited the opportunity of fighting Lopez, which, besides being much more lucrative, there was also a debt to settle.
“We knew that Lopez was having weight problems, so at the weigh-in we crowded the scale. Although he was a bit overweight, we all started clapping vigorously and Lopez got off the scale immediately and, in the pandemonium, that was that. With the benefit of hindsight, we didn’t realize that if we’d beaten him, we’d still be declared the champion; our worry was the fight might not have happened.
“Mitchell comprehensively out boxed him in the second fight and won a lopsided decision. It goes down as one of the greatest victories in South African boxing.”
Result: Mitchell UD 12

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