Where Have All the Cuban World Champs Gone?

By Boxing News - 07/25/2022 - Comments

By Ken Hissner: I once did an article on 3 Cuban welterweights who became IBHOF inductees in “Kid” Gavilan, Luis Manuel Rodriguez and Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles. First two fought out of Miami while Napoles out of Mexico.

Today there are some good Cuban prospects turning professional such as Super Lightweight Lazaro Alvarez who was 208-36 in the amateurs and had his second pro bout last week at the age of 31. Another is Super Welterweight Roniel Iglesias, 2-0, at 32 who was 309-44 in the amateurs. Julio Cesar la Cruz, 1-0, was 258-22 in the amateurs and a 32 year-old heavyweight with all fighting out of Mexico.

Cubans who have been here for some time that are still active are former WBA Bantamweight and Super Bantamweight world champion Guillermo “El Chacal The Jackal” Rigondeaux, 20-3, at age 41 losing his title in 2020. 

The most recent one to retire was former IBF Cruiserweight world champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez, 29-2 (14), came back at heavyweight in 2020 and lost and at age 37 fought out of Germany giving up his title in 2014.

Getting back to active boxers is current WBA World Middleweight Erislandy Lara, 29-3-3 (17), at age 39 fighting out of Houston, Texas, who gave up his Super Welterweight titles in 2018. Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin holds the Super title.

Former IBF Super Featherweight and Lightweight champion now at Super Lightweight Rances Barthelemy, 29-1-1 (15), at age 37 is fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be on Showtime this Saturday against Gary Antuanne Russell, 15-0 (15). He lost his title in 2018 and fought to a draw in an attempt to win it back.

Another no longer active is former IBF Lightweight champion Richar Abril, 20-3-1 (8), last fought in 2016 after giving up title in 2014 fighting out of Florida.

Still very much active is former WBA Welterweight champion Yordenis “54 Milagros” Ugas, 27-5 (12), age 36 out of Miami, Florida, lost his title in April.

Another retired is former Cruiserweight Mike “The Rebel” Perez, 27-3-1 (18), age 36 out of Cork, Ireland, has won his last five fights last fighting in March. His last loss was to Mairis Briedis in 2017. He last defended his WBC USNBC title in 2014 to a draw. In 2015 he lost fighting for the WBC Silver title in 2015.   

Still very much active is former WBA Interim and Inter-Continental Heavyweight champion Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, 33-2 (28), out of Miami, Florida, at age 43 lost twice to WBC World champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder in challenging for the titles in 2018 and 2019. He is scheduled to fight in September against former world champion Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz. 

The last to hold a world title if memory serves me right was former WBA Super Featherweight and WBC Lightweight champion Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor, 36-4-1 (22), losing his title in 2008. His last fight was in 2011 fighting for the WBO Super Lightweight title held by Tim Bradley.