Credit: Pacific Coast News; AP

It wasn’t exactly a love-fest — more like a respect-off — when Mario Lopez and R&B singer Mario, a contestant on the current season of Dancing with the Stars, got on the phone to speak with Ryan Seacrest on his On Air radio show.

Singer Mario, who’s been steaming up the ballroom with Lopez’s girlfriend Karina Smirnoff while denying rumors of a romance, had plenty of kind words for the former Saved By the Bell star.

“We kicked it a few times. Mario’s a cool guy,” he said. “We have similar interests. I like boxing and he likes boxing.”

But don’t expect them to spar anytime soon. While Lopez pal Seacrest acknowledged that chemistry in the ballroom is important, he made it clear that he had his friend’s back and warned the singer that he may be getting dangerously close to crossing a line.

Lopez, however, was a little more understanding. In fact, the actor said he liked Mario and respects the singer’s dance floor determination. “The dances are all characters and telling a story,” he told Seacrest while Mario was on the line. “I’m really proud of him. He’s a great guy. Really respectful.”

Lopez went on to say that he didn’t feel the same about his girlfriend’s last DWTS partner, boxer Floyd Mayweather, calling the heavyweight “a handful.”

And what does Lopez think of Mario and Smirnoff’s chances of winning the competition? “They’re going all the way,” he said. –Jonathan Stern

Pacific Coast News; AP