Hector Lopez


In his own words...

I was born in Sacramento California on April 11, 1963.  I attended Davis Senior High School, and graduated in 1981.  Boxing for me started at the age of 15 when I watched Muhammad Ali fight for the first time.  I was fascinated by his beautiful boxing technique, and his ability not to get hit.  Yes, he was a bit brash, but he was poetry in motion.  Soon after, I began playfully boxing with friends, but I wanted to find out what it was really like.  Finally at the age of 18 I attended Sacramento City Junior College and got involved in their boxing program.  My first fight was at Consumnes River College, which I won and was awarded the Outstanding Boxer Award.  After consulting with then boxing coach Cloy Stapelton, he suggested I go to the Washington Neighborhood Center which was located in down town Sacramento.  One week later, I went to the gym and spoke to the head boxing coach Don Conely.  Mr. Conley looked straight in my eyes and told me how rough this sport was and that maybe I should try something else.  I felt challenged and told him I would show up the next day.  I did so, and for the next three weeks I went through some of the most grueling physical work outs I had ever experienced.  Finally, on the fourth week, he let me spar.  I sparred with a few of the professionals, and boy did I get a rude awakening.  I was not as prepared as I thought, and I was humbled very quickly.  I continued going to the gym where I watched great Sacramento fighters like Pete Ranzany, Sal Lopez, Loreto Garza and Bobby Chacon engage in some grueling sparring sessions.  I was motivated by them and continued to learn, and actually did some sparring with some of those fighters, which did wonders to develop my own skills.  During that time I had put together a good string of amateur wins (21) without a loss.  In 1984, I had won the Novice San Francisco Golden Gloves Championship and in 1985, I won the Special Senior San Francisco Golden Gloves Championship.  Also during that year, I was chosen to compete on the USA International Boxing Team that competed against the Canadian International Boxing Team, which we ended up winning.  What an experience that was.  I was treated like royalty.  When we got back to the United States, we were met by none other than Sugar Ray Leonard.  That was quiet an inspiring time for me.  As I continued my boxing career I won the 1987 California State Boxing Championship and in 1988 I won the San Francisco Open Division Golden Gloves Championships.  I fought all of my fights in the 156 pound division. 

I had my last amateur fight in 1988 and shortly after decided to hang up the gloves for good.  I learned so much about boxing, and I will forever be grateful to those people that guided me through that exciting and gratifying time.  I had so many experiences and met so many wonderful people.  Also during 1988, I started working for the City of Woodland Parks and Recreation Department as a part-time boxing coach.  I have supervised the boxing program for over 20 years.  We have had many success stories including the 2004 Olympian Light Weight Vicente Escobedo.

Today, I am proud to be the UC Davis Boxing Club Coach.  I get tremendous satisfaction out of teaching some of the boxing skills that I was taught to other young boxers.  Boxing is more than just throwing punches. It’s about throwing them at a target, at the right time, and at the right distance.  I want my students to learn the importance of both offense and defense.  A boxer needs to develop his offensive punches and his defensive movements to the same level.  A jab must be as good as a left hook, right cross or an upper cut.  The ultimate goal is to have very few weaknesses if at all possible.  I try and get that message across to all of my students.  I want them to get what they want out of a boxing program.  Some may want to just learn the sport, others want to get a great work out, and others may want to reach their potential.  Either way, I am here to meet their needs, and offer support in any way I can.  In my opinion, boxing teaches you how to handle difficult situations, which in turn translate to the real world.  Boxing teaches you how to continue through rough times, and how to be focused when it counts.  Boxing trains you to be physically and mentally ready. 

My hope is to have all of the boxing students transfer some of these lessons into their real lives, and reach a level of success that satisfies them.  If through my boxing, I am able to help one student over come a challenge in their life, I will have received my reward in full. 

Hector Lopez,
UC Davis Boxing Coach