Mexico has produced many global boxing champions over the years. Santos Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez Barragán is a great example. As of January 2023, he was ranked the third-best boxer in the world. Today we look into Mexico's rich boxing history with the top 10 Mexican boxers of all time.
Mexico's first boxing champion was Solomon 'Solly' Smith Garcia, who won the World Featherweight title in 1897. Since then, more than 200 Mexicans have won world boxing titles.
Why are Mexican boxers so good?
Boxing culture infiltrated Mexico in the early 20th century. Plenty of gyms and training centres sprung up all across the country. Let us look at 10 of the most famous Mexican boxers of all time.
10. Marco Antonio Barrera, aka 'Baby Faced Assasin'
Barrera charmed fans worldwide with his aggressive style and sneaky footwork. He won multiple championships in the bantamweight and featherweight categories. His most memorable victories were against Naseem Hamed, Manny Pacquiao and his compatriot Erik Morales. He retired from boxing in 2011.
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9. Erik 'Terrible' Morales
Like his compatriot Barrera, Morales was known for dominating the lower weight classes. He often fought for the titles with him and Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao. He retired from boxing in 2012.
8. Carlos 'Cañas' Zárate
Carlos Zárate was active between 1970-1988. He is considered one of the best Mexican boxers of the 70s. He won an impressive 63 bouts by knockout during his career.
7. Jesús 'Chucho' Castillo
Chucho Castillo held the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles in 1970. He was known for his rivalries with fellow Mexican fighters Rafael Herrera and Ruben Olivares. He passed away in 2013.
6. Rafael Herrera
Herrera had an epic duo of fights with Chucho Castillo, each winning, one apiece. They were both lauded for their 'all or nothing approach to the bouts and giving it their all to win.
5. Juan Manuel Márquez
Juan Manuel Márquez is considered one of the greatest Mexican boxers ever. He won 9 world titles in his stint between 1993 and 2014. Márquez was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2020. He is considered one of the best lightweight Mexican boxers in history.
4. Salvador "Sal" Sánchez Narváez
Salvador's story is always one of sporting history's biggest 'what could have been' stories. Sal achieved a considerable amount of success at a relatively young age winning several world titles before the age of 23. His career was ultimately cut short when he died in a car accident in 1982.
3. Rubén 'Puas' Olivares
Rubén is not only one of the best boxers in Mexican history but in world history as well. As of 2023, he still has the most wins in unified title fights in the bantamweight category, with six total. After retiring from boxing, he took on an acting career.
2. Santos Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez Barragán
Saúl Álvarez is the top man amongst current Mexican boxers. He asserted himself as a legend of the sport by becoming the world's first undisputed super middleweight champion in 2020. As of 2023, he only has two losses despite having over 50 professional bouts.
1. Julio César Chávez
When Mexican boxers' names are mentioned, Julio César Chávez tops the list. He was considered the world's best boxer between 1990-1993. His fight in 1993 against Greg Haugen in the Estadio Azteca has the world record for the most attended boxing match. 136,274 fans attended the fight. He retired from boxing in 2005. His son Julio César Chávez Jr. won the WBC middleweight championship in 2011. Chávez Jr is among the top Mexican boxers of 2023.
The honour of having multiple boxing champions has made the sport one of Mexico's favourite pastimes. It will be no surprise to see more world champions emerge from there.
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