Who Was the Greatest of the Spanish Boxers?
By Ken Hissner: There have been many great Spanish Boxers from South and Central America, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. I look forward to those who comment to add to my list.
In South America, world champions Carlos Monzon and Pascual Perez were the first who come to mind. They also were Olympic Gold Medalists and mostly overlooked Omar Narvaez with 27 title defenses.
In Central America, Alexis “The Thin Man” Arguello and Panama’s Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran. Mexico’s Julio “JC” Cesar Chavez, Sr. and Ricardo “Finito” Lopez. Puerto Rico’s Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez. Dominican’s Carlos Teo Cruz and Cuba’s Kid “Cuban Bon Bon” Chocolate and 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist Teofilo Stevenson.
Let’s start with Argentina’s Middleweight champion Carlos Monzon, 87-3-9 with 59 knockouts. He traveled to Italy in 1970 to stop Italy’s Nino Benvenutti from winning the WBA and WBC world titles. If my count is correct, he won his last 71 fights and eight draws before retiring and was inducted into the IBHOF.
My all-time favorite Flyweight was Argentina’s Pascual Perez, 84-7-1 with 59 knockouts. He was the first Argentine to win a world title. In 1948 he won an Olympic Gold Medal. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
In talking about title defenses, the name Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis comes up with 25 of them. WBO and WBO Super Flyweight champion from Argentina Omar “El Huracan” Narvaez, 49-4-2 with 25 knockouts, had 27 defenses which are little known by most.
Nicaragua has WBA Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, and WBC Lightweight champion Alexis “The Thin Man” Arguello, 77-8 with 62 knockouts. Trying to win a fourth division against Aaron “Hawk” Pryor has been discussed in boxing ever since due to the finish way he lost. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
Panama’s Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, 103-16 with 70 knockouts, was the WBA Lightweight, WBC Welterweight, WBA Light Middleweight, and WBC Middleweight champion. His second of three fights with “Sugar” Ray Leonard, unfortunately, the second one’s loss branded him a quitter for saying “No Mas!” He won his first 31 fights and was inducted into the IBHOF.
Mexico’s Julio “J.C.” Cesar Chavez, Sr., 107-6-2 with 85 knockouts, was the WBC Super Featherweight, WBA and WBC Lightweight, and IBF Light Welterweight champion. He was 89-0-1 before losing for the first time. He had 24 defenses, and he was inducted into the IBHOF.
Mexico’s Ricardo “Finito” Lopez, 51-0-1 with 38 knockouts, was WBC, WBO and IBF Mini, and IBF Light Flyweight champion. He was 47-0 when he got a draw and, in the rematch, defeated Rosendo Alvarez. He had 24 defenses. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
Puerto Rico’s Felix “Tito” Trinidad, 42-3 with 35 knockouts, held the IBF and WBC Welterweight, WBA IBF Light Middleweight, and WBA Middleweight champion. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, 44-3-1 with 42 knockouts, was the WBC Super Bantamweight, WBC Featherweight, and WBA Super Featherweight champion. He was 32-0-1 before suffering his first loss. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
Dominican Republic’s Carlos Teo Cruz, 42-13-2 with 14 knockouts, held the WBA and WBC Lightweight titles defeating my all-time world favorite boxer Carlos Ortiz of Puerto Rico held the lightweight and junior welterweight titles.
Cuba’s Kid “Cuban Bon Bon” Chocolate, 136-10-6 with 51 knockouts, was the world Junior Lightweight champion. He was 55-0-1 before suffering his first loss. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
3-time Olympic Gold Medalist Heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson, 110-12 with 50 knockouts, never turned professional. He had wins over both John Tate and Michael Dokes, who became world champions.
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