A while back your preferred independent combat sports website had a special week on Mexican pugilists called “Mexican Style” and part of it was a spirited debate regarding just who are the best Mexican boxers of all-time. So what better time than Cinco De Mayo to feature the resulting Top 12 list? These are the greatest Mexican pugilists ever, as ranked by Rafael Garcia and Michael Carbert.
12.Rodolfo “Baby” Casanova: While “Baby” never won a world title, he more than held his own in one of boxing’s most competitive eras, amassing 81 wins and scoring victories over, among others, Kid Azteca, Baby Arizmendi, Juan Zurita and Freddie Miller. His battle with Sixto Escobar in 1934 is considered the very first chapter in the legendary Mexico vs Puerto Rico rivalry.
11. Marco Antonio Barrera: A true Mexican warrior, “El Barreta” won world titles in three different weight classes, coming back from defeat to assert his greatness with wins over Kennedy McKinney, Naseem Hamed, Paulie Ayala, Erik Morales, Kevin Kelley and Johnny Tapia.
10. Erik Morales: The first Mexican boxer to win world titles in four different weight classes, “El Terrible” defeated 15 world champions, including Barrera, Junior Jones, Daniel Zaragoza, Paulie Ayala and Kevin Kelley. His decision victory over Manny Pacquiao in 2005 is one of the greatest wins ever by a Mexican fighter.
9. Ricardo Lopez: The numbers say it all: 21 successful title defences, 51 wins, 38 knockouts, zero defeats. An amazingly accomplished ring technician, “El Finito” would no doubt be higher on this list if he had faced more formidable competition.
8. Miguel Canto: Regarded as one of the greatest flyweight champions in boxing history, Canto took the title from Shoji Oguma in 1975 and proceeded to notch fourteen title defenses, defeating the likes of Betulio Gonzalez, Lupe Madera, Martin Vargas and Antonio Avelar. A slick, defensively gifted boxer, he scored only fifteen stoppages in 61 career wins.
7. Vicente Saldivar: One of the greatest southpaws in boxing history, “Zurdo de Oro” owns victories over Ismael Laguna, Sugar Ramos, Howard Winstone and Jose Legra.
6. Alberto “Baby” Arizmendi: With wins over the great Henry Armstrong and closely contested bouts against the likes of Tony Canzoneri, Chalky Wright, Lou Ambers, Sammy Angott and Freddie Miller, there’s no doubt this featherweight world champion is a true “Mexican Style” legend.
4. Carlos Zarate: One of the greatest bantamweights of all-time and one of boxing’s most powerful punchers, Zarate won 55 straight before falling to a prime Wilfredo Gomez. His knockout win over Alfonso Zamora in 1977 is one of the great victories in Mexican boxing history.
2. Julio Cesar Chavez: Boasting 107 wins with 86 knockouts, “El César del Boxeo” dominated his era, defeating a long list of champions including Edwin Rosario, Tony Lopez, Greg Haugen, Roger Mayweather and Meldrick Taylor.
1. Salvador Sanchez: A fatal car accident cut short the career of Sanchez, but during his brief time at the top he established himself as an all-time great, scoring a series of convincing wins, including victories over fellow Hall of Famers Danny Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez and Azumah Nelson.