By Jackie Kallen
TV host Mario Lopez made a name for himself 20 years ago as A.C. Slater on “Saved By the Bell.” Those dimples and dashing good looks made him a teen heartthrob. He has propelled that early success into a thriving Hollywood career. But behind the smile, lurks a physically strong man who lives and breathes boxing.
“It’s always been my passion. I have loved boxing since I was a kid.”
His devotion to the sport will soon be seen in a documentary film that he is completing. I was fortunate to be a part of it, along with Manny Pacquaio, Mike Tyson, and just about everyone else connected to our sport. This will be an insightful look into our unique business. It will also serve as an interesting look into the complex persona of Lopez. There is a lot more to him than slick hair and white teeth.
Besides loving boxing, Lopez is damn good at it. I have seen him in the boxing gym many times, hanging tough with the pros around him. His discipline, power, and surprising skills have impressed many boxing insiders.
When planning a boxing fundraiser a few months ago for City of Hope, I suggested to Mario that he fight an exhibition with Jimmy Lange (of “Contender” fame.) He immediately accepted, and began training. He took the opportunity seriously and was determined to make a good showing.
Jimmy also took the project to heart, and vowed to put on a good show for the crowd (who paid $1,000 apiece for the event’s festivities.) Their performance will be a part of the documentary, as well as the lead-up to it. From what I’ve seen, this will be one of the most definitive looks into our sport ever filmed.
Produced and directed by documentarian Bert Marcus (who did “Teenage Paparazzo” for HBO) this film will give the audience a glimpse at the state of boxing today and creeps into the minds and hearts of the participants.
Women have always loved Mario Lopez. Now men will have a new-found respect for him. This film will double his fan base and show that he is a lot more than just a pretty face and killer abs.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen