By Rich Mancuso
Boxing is that sport of demographics and every few years there is change. The Italian-American era of Rocky Marciano, to the dominance of the Irish champion and the African-American. Latino’s have always played a role in the sport and once again hold the most championships among a majority of the major championships.
Currently associated in that group is Canelo Alvarez, who holds championships as a middleweight and super middleweight. Not counting the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO, the major sanctioning organizations, boxing has numerous other Latino champions with the so called alphabet soup groups that still have a role in the ratings and championship categories.
Here is a brief summary of the Latino champion in the sport, not necessarily rated but as some of the elite, active or inactive, and Hall of Fame inductees as well:
Miguel Cotto: The first and only Puerto Rican who holds championships in four different weight classes. Known for his power and represented Puerto Rico in the lightweight and light welterweight divisions of international events. The 1999 Pan American games and 2000 Olympics and the 1998 Junior World Championships where he won a silver medal.
Oscar De La Hoya: The lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champion also won the Gold medal for the United States in the 1992 Olympic games and holds citizenships in America and Mexico.
Roberto Duran: “Hands of Stone” from Panama and regarded as the brawler who won four titles in different weight classes, his lightweight championship put him in a category as one of the top ten greatest of all-time. “No Mas” is the slogan that will always be remembered after quitting in his second fight with Sugar Ray Leonard and was dethroned of his welterweight title. He was also the rare fighter who continued to throw punches in six decades.
Hector “Macho” Camacho: Changed the face of boxing with his wardrobe of battle gear to an Indian that inspired other fighters. But, Camacho may have been considered the fastest fighter to come out of Puerto Rico with amazing footwork and hand speed and a three-time champion.
Felix “Tito” Trinidad: Winner of five national championships in Puerto Rico and three-division champion who holds a record with the second most defenses, 15, as a welterweight and holds the longest record as a welterweight champion for six years.
Julio Cesar Chavez: A champion the junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight divisions and possibly considered the best champion to come out of Mexico.
Alexis Arguello: A featherweight, junior lightweight, champion from Nicaragua and was described as tough and durable.
Carlos Zarate: The hard hitting bantamweight champion from mexico who retired with a 66-4 record.
Ricardo Lopez: Also with great footwork, the three time champion as a minimum weight and flyweight from Mexico and one of the few from the country who retired at 51-0. Though his final record, and going out undefeated is not in the record books as the minimum weight category was not considered for ranking. So the undefeated 49-0 mark of Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather Jr. still holds.
Efren Torres: A flyweight champion from Mexico and many said he would have died in the ring the way the way he threw and took a punch during his one year reign as champion from 1969-70.