"He was a puncher," former Associated Press boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr. said.
Was he ever.
In a 10-year professional featherweight career, Lopez went 42-6 with 39 knockouts, a rÃ©sumÃ© that has landed him in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
"I'm real happy and I feel pretty good," said Lopez, who followed his brother Ernie into the ring, learning the sweet science in Orem, Utah, at the age of 16 before turning pro in 1971 and beginning his career with 21 straight knockouts.
Lopez, now 57, heads the 13-member class of 2010 announced Tuesday.
Among the other living inductees voted in by the Boxing Writers Association are: light flyweight champ Jung-Koo Chang, the first South Korean boxer to make the Hall of Fame; manager Shelly Finkel; referee and commissioner Larry Hazzard; German promoter Wilfried Sauerland; matchmaker Bruce Trampler; and Schuyler, the longtime AP boxing writer.
Posthumous honorees to be enshrined June 13 include: light heavyweight Lloyd Marshall; featherweight champion Young Corbett II; lightweight champion Rocky Kansas; heavyweight contender Billy Miske; broadcaster Howard Cosell; and Paddington Tom Jones.
After losing in a ninth-round knockout to Bobby Chacon on May 24, 1974, Lopez rebounded with wins over Chucho Castillo, Ruben Olivares, Sean O'Grady and Art Hafey before challenging Davey Kotey in 1976 for the WBC featherweight championship in Kotey's homeland of Ghana.
In front of 122,000 fans, Lopez, spurred by fans from the American embassy, won the title on a 15-round decision. A string of eight successful title defenses followed.
Lopez's title run ended in 1980 when Salvador Sanchez knocked him out in the 13th round. After Sanchez knocked him out again in their rematch, Lopez retired, though he fought one more time.