1998-03-07 Ricardo Lopez tdraw 7 Rosendo Alvarez, City Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico - WBC/WBA

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1998-03-07 Ricardo Lopez tdraw 7 Rosendo Alvarez, City Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico - WBC/WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou. Scorecards: 64-67, 68-64, 66-66. In a battle of champions, having been dumped by a big right hand in the second round Lopez (104¾) struggled up to get back into the fight and had made an excellent recovery until a clash of heads at the end of the seventh terminated the contest during the interval when he was badly cut over the left eye. After docking Alvarez (104¾) a point, under WBC rules the fight was settled by the scorecards.

Matched again to decide the WBA/WBC titles at the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 13 November, Lopez (103½) outpointed Alvarez over 12 rounds, but not before Alvarez (108) had been stripped by the WBA after weighing in well over the recognised poundage. However, on the result the WBA recognised Lopez as being champion.

Later, with Lopez still undecided on whether to move up a weight, Songkram Porpaoin defeated Ronnie Magramo via a ninth-round technical decision on 30 January 1999 at the City Hall, Pattaya, Thailand to win the WBA ‘interim’ title, but after losing his next fight the Thai moved up a weight class.

This was followed by Wandee Chor Chareon (Singwancha) making a successful defence of the WBC ‘interim’ crown when he stopped Wolf Tokimitsu in the 12th round at the Mizushima Greenland Gym, Kurachiki, Thailand on 4 May 1999.

After Lopez finally walked away from the WBC/WBA titles in September 1999, having moved up a weight, Chor Chareon (Singwancha) was declared champion by the WBC, while the WBA set up a fight between Noel Arambulet and Jomo Gamboa for the vacant title.