It is hard to find a country with more passion for boxing than Mexico. Throughout the illustrious history of the sport, Mexico has produced a steady supply of boxers that embody many of the best aspects of “the sweet science”. And each of these warriors has been praised and held as a national hero and treasure by the passionate Mexican people who have adopted boxing as one of their national sports.
A distinctive term often used today is “Mexican boxing” which in short means fast and aggressive style, heavily favoring powerful shots and offense over jabbing and defense. It’s easy to imagine why such a style captivates boxing fans all around the world. Many Mexican boxers embodied this spirit in the ring and have rightfully earned their legendary status and place in history.
Below, I will take a look at 10 of the best Mexican boxers in history in a not necessarily ranked list.
1. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
We will begin with the latest Mexican officer leading the charge. Saul Alvarez is among the best P4P boxers in this era and without a doubt the most popular one. With a record of 60-1, he embodies the values laid by his predecessors and smothers the opposition with relentless power and pressure.
He is only one of six men to manage to capture an undisputed title since the beginning of the “four-belt era” back in 2004. He currently reigns over the super middleweight division holding all 4 major belts.
2. Eric Morales
Morales became the first Mexican to win titles in 4 different weight classes. “The Terrible” finished his career with a 61-9 record (36 Kos) and his unforgettable epic battles with Barrera will always remain boxing classics. His list of victories is as impressive as any including Pacquiao, Barrera, Zaragoza, Chavez, Hernandez, Ayala, Junior Jones, and Wayne McCullough among many others.
3. Marco Antonio Barrera
Barrera fought like a true Mexican warrior and claimed a world title in 3 different weight classes. An impressive 67-7 record and 8 consecutive defenses of the WBO 122lbs crown cement his place as of the best Mexican boxers to enter the ring. A vicious left hook to the body is a staple of Mexican stylists, and Barrera developed him to perfection.
He also of course came out victorious in the classic trilogy fight with Morales earning the bragging rights.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez
Marquez fought in the same golden era for Mexican fighters as Morales and Barrera but managed to emerge as the best of them. Unlike other typical Mexican boxers, he relied more on counter punching than on constant forward marching. This doesn’t mean he shied away from a brawl and was tough and heavy-handed as any.
A highlight of his career remains the 4 fight saga with Manny Pacquiao, whom he face-planted on the canvas in the 6th round of their final battle.
5. Carlos Zarate
With power in his hands fitting a fighter at least twice his size, Zarate was a bantamweight monster. From the start of his career in 1970, he amassed a 52-win streak
before finally suffering his first defeat at the hands of Wifredo Gomez at 122 lbs. As 118 pounder Zarate was a pure juggernaut well-deserving of a place in a top 10 list thanks for his astounding 63 knockouts out of 66 wins.
6. Vicente Saldivar
One of the greatest southpaws in boxing history, Saldivar had an interesting career and managed to become a legend of Mexican boxing in a lot fewer fights than his other countrymen on this list. He retired (for the final time) with “just” 40 fights under his belt.
He held the WBC and WBA featherweight titles and defended them 7 times before abruptly retiring at age 24. Later he returned to the ring for a few more fights and reclaimed the WBC featherweight crown
7. Alberto Arizmendi
The man who put Mexican boxing on the map. Alberto “Baby” Arizmendi became the first Mexican world champion when he outpointed Mike Belloise over 15 rounds in 1934 for the NYSAC featherweight belt.
“Baby” fought with a relentless style and would wear out his opponents with his non-stop attacks, a style that would be recreated by many of his fighting countrymen over the decades after Arizmendi fought.
8. Ruben Olivarez
Considered by many to be the greatest bantamweight champion in history, Ruben Olivarez was a national icon. He won his moniker “Rockabye Ruben” with his unbridled power, skill, and savagery. He ruled over a very deep bantamweight division and had no equal during his prime in the late 1960s. and early 70s.
Olivarez was the embodiment of Mexican machismo and was widely loved by his countrymen. His love for worldly pleasures saw him go up in weight and although he wasn’t the same fighter at 126 lbs. he still managed to win a world title on two separate occasions.
9. Salvador Sanchez
A true Mexican boxing royalty, Salvador Sanchez is one of the greatest boxing tragedies. Before passing away in a car accident at the tender age of 23, Sanchez already distinguished himself in boxing. In his short 7 years of professional competition, Sanchez used his stiff punching style to win 44 fights and lose only 1. He won the WBC and lineal featherweight title in 1980 and managed to defend it an astonishing 9 times in just 2 years.
10. Julio Ceasar Chavez
Although the boxers on this list are not ranked in order of significance, Julio Ceaser Chavez has to top the list. ‘El Gran Campeon Mexicano’ is widely considered as the best 140 lbs. boxer in history, not just in Mexico. Chavez competed as a professional for an unbelievable 25 years from 1980 until 2005. He held world titles at super-featherweight, lightweight, and super lightweight and was ranked as the number 1 pound 4-pound fighter by the Ring magazine from 1990 to 1993. His records are stunning- 37 title fights, 31 of which won with 26 title defenses. He was on an 87 fight win streak before drawing against Pernell Whitaker in 1993.
These numbers don’t tell the whole story of Mexico’s greatest fighting pride. Chavez achieved his ridiculous records thanks to his aggressive pressure style. He expertly used head movement to advance forward and mercilessly beat down the opposition. An epitome of “Mexican Style” boxing and excellence Chavez deserves a rightful number 1 spot on our list.
It’s very hard to narrow these Mexican warriors down and you could easily debate for the following legends being on this list – Ricardo Lopez, Antonio Margarito, Juan Francisco Estrada.
Hope you enjoyed this boxing list. Make sure to check out more similar related articles below or sign up to my boxing newsletter and get 5 Free discounts!
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