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THE SEOUL GAMES / DAY 5 : LAPD Officer, Boxing for Argentina, Loses Decision

The Los Angeles Police Department will never officially appear in the 1988 Olympic Games results, but the LAPD went 0-1 in the Olympic boxing tournament.

George Lopez, a former undercover narcotics officer for the LAPD, has U.S. and Argentina citizenship. He lost a 5-0 decision to Canada’s Ray Downey in a light-middleweight bout Tuesday night.

Lopez, 28, lives in Arcadia, owns a sidewalk cafe in Sierra Madre called “A Touch of France,” and is currently assigned to the Hollenbeck Station in East Los Angeles. He’s affiliated with the Hollenbeck Youth Center for LAPD-sponsored youth boxing programs.

Lopez was born in Buenos Aires, and his father emigrated to the United States in 1963, working in pizza parlors and as a bus boy for 2 years before he could afford to bring his family to Los Angeles.

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Lopez got a late start in amateur boxing, and realized he could box in the Olympics for Argentina during the 1984 L.A. Olympics.

“I was working security at the athletes’ village at UCLA one day when I overheard 2 coaches speaking Spanish with an Argentine accent,” Lopez said.

“They were boxing coaches, and they were intrigued that I was an amateur boxer and also had Argentine citizenship. We stayed in touch, and last May I was invited to their Olympic trials and made the team.

“I never could have made the U.S. team. This was my only chance to box in the Olympics.”

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Argentina brought 4 boxers to the Olympics and only 1 remains, after Lopez’s defeat Monday. Downey, a left-handed Canadian, was much the superior boxer. Two judges scored the bout for Downey by 60-56, 1 had it 60-55 and 2 had it 60-53.

Lopez could not keep the aggressive, hard-hitting Downey from connecting, and took a considerable beating. Afterward, he had a cut lip and a cut on the side of his nose.

“I have trouble with left-handers, and I never figured him out,” he said.

“It was a lot of work to get here, and while I’m disappointed at the result, I can say it was a happy experience, to box in the Olympics.”

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