Reporting Kurtis Ming
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A famous boxer from Sacramento tried to get his pension from the state.
But when he couldn’t get straight answers, he called Kurtis.
He’s Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, a three-time world championship fighter.
California has a pension fund for boxers but Tony thinks he’s being shorted.
“This was my first title fight with Rocky Lockridge, fight of the year,” said Tony Lopez, three-time world championship boxer.
Tony was just 25 years old when he won his first world championship title.
Now a decorated and retired fighter at age 50, he’s qualified to collect his pension.
Back in 1982, California started the pension fund for boxers who fought at least 75 professional rounds in the state.
But Tony recently found out his pension amount, about $34,000, was only a bit more than his brother’s, Sal Lopez.
But Tony says after the pension program started, he fought three times as many fights as Sal.
“How am I only getting $2,000 more than my brother? Oh well we don’t know how they calculate it. Well, however they calculate it, it’s not right,” said Tony.
We asked the commissioner of the California Athletic Commission, which oversees this fund, why the numbers didn’t seem to add up, and he initially wasn’t sure how the pension fund was calculated either.
“It’s a very complicated formula,” said Andy Foster, Executive Officer, California Athletic Commission.
We then contacted San Diego law professor, Bob Fellmeth, who wrote the law for this pension fund.
He told us the number of rounds fought did make a difference.
So we went back to the Commission, they found a provision in the law, allowing Tony’s brother’s 21 fights before the pension program started, to count.
“Once you count those fights, it brought the number of bouts to a very even number,” said Foster.
Which is why their pensions are about the same.
Tony has since received his pension check in full and is glad to finally get answers.
“I’m a three time world champion because I don’t quit. I never said I was the best fighter in the world but I tell you what, I don’t quit,” said Tony.
Since 1996, this pension program has been funded soley from ticket sales.
Right now, California is the only state that has a boxers pension fund.
There is $5.3 million currently in the fund. But the Commission tells us they can’t find more than 150 boxers who are entitled to share roughly $2 million. So they want to get the word out about this pension available.