Right now, we're in somewhat of a historical lull of great Mexican fighters. Juan Manuel Marquez is still close to the top of his game, but he's 36 and fighting a few weight classes over his best weight, even now. Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales should be on their way out, if they aren't already. Antonio Margarito looks like he may have been somewhat of a mirage, and even if he wasn't, his legacy is tainted and he's on suspension for quite a while longer. Even Rafael Marquez and Israel Vasquez, who never quite made it to star level, seem to be on the way out. Gary Shaw was telling anyone who would listen that Perro Angulo was next, but the step he took was a step too large, and it's somewhat back to the drawing boards for him. So who could actually be the next Mexican star? I'm not going to purport to go into everyone (I couldn't even if I wanted to), but here are a few candidates that might be a part of the next generation of Mexican stars (in no particular order).
Urbano Antillon - 26-0, 26 years old, lightweight
Antillon finally has his (sort of) title shot coming up, having been gifted an interim title fight against Miguel Acosta. The Bobfather has been building up Antillon for a while, but he does have some star qualities. He likes to choke off his opponent, cutting off the ring and launching big shots and combos. He does have true one punch knockout power, which is rare for a lightweight. Rumor has it that he's the only guy in Manny Pacquiao's last training camp to collect Freddie Roach's famous $1,000 sparring knockdown bonus. He doesn't have the world's greatest defense, and he probably won't be a pound for pound fighter, but he has star potential anyway, just because of the way he fights.
Marvin Quintero - 16-1, 22 years old, super featherweight
Quintero is fighting under Gary Shaw's banner now, which means you can expect to see a lot of him on Showtime. Pros: he's exciting, he's young, he has some pop, he comes forward with a high workrate in a brawler fashion, he moves inside and outside decently, and he fights in a weight class where he could get onto US TV. Cons: he's on the slow side, he tends to throw arm punches, and he has massive defensive holes. Now that he's twice made it onto English-language US TV, I suspect he'll be taken along a little more slowly, as he really has a lot to learn before he can become an elite level fighter, but the groundwork is there if he's up to the task. He struggled at times against Wes Ferguson, but Ferguson is a tricky fighter, and he decimated the same Nick Casal who went 10 rounds with Antonio DeMarco. (Horrible Mexican music warning on the video)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - 39-0-1, 23 years old, light middleweight
Nah, just kidding. He'll live off his dad's name for a while, but he seems to be a slow learner, and he doesn't seem to have great assets outside of his size and his power. That said, he does have as good of a resume as most of the guys on this list, and if anyone knows how to turn a marginal prospect into a star, it's Bob Arum.
Antonio DeMarco - 21-1-1, 23 years old, lightweight
DeMarco has a bit more of an uphill battle to becoming a star than most of the other guys on this list, simply because he's not necessarily an inside brawler. He is a pretty well-rounded fighter, who can fight inside and outside, and can fight off the back foot. His win over Kid Diamond is probably the most impressive win out of anyone on this list. On the other hand, he too doesn't seem to have any one superior physical talent, and he's had a tendency to be too reluctant to throw punches at times. DeMarco will be fighting Agnes Adjaho on the Darchinyan-Agbeko undercard on Showtime on July 11.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez - 27-0-1, 18 years old, welterweight
Alvarez is one of those guys I watch and don't think he's anything that special, but they keep matching him up with tougher and tougher opposition, and he keeps blowing guys out. He may very well be the most technically solid out of this bunch, save Mares, which is impressive considering he's only 18 years old with no amateur experience. He puts punches together well, and he's a lot harder to hit than he looks. At only 18 years old, he can still get a lot better, and even if he doesn't have blinding speed, it seems like he's developing the power to compensate, and he's already excellent at cutting off the ring. Even if he doesn't end up a star, he could end up being the best red-headed boxer in recent memory. Keep in mind that Ricardo Torres just took 10 rounds to do in his opponent in the clip below.
Abner Mares - 18-0, 23 years old, bantamweight
There's about as much hype behind Mares as any other Mexican boxer at the moment. He's one of Golden Boy's first attempts to bring up a fighter from scratch, and so far they seem to be doing a fine job, even though Nacho Beristain recently dumped him as a trainer. Mares fought in the Olympics for Mexico, although that doesn't mean as much in a country where most fighters don't have extensive amateur careers. Mares is a solid boxer who I think of as a little Andre Ward - good at everything, not great at anything, but has good enough technical prowess to overcome. However, he'll have a tougher time becoming a star stateside, simply because he's from a lower weight class and he's not as much of a brawler as most of the other fighters on this list.
Others for consideration: Juan Carlos Salgado (20-0-1, 24 years old, super featherweight); Jesus Soto-Karass (23-3-3, 26 years old, welterweight); Juan Carlos Burgos (22-0, 21 years old, featherweight); Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (24-0, Flyweight); Humberto Mauro Gutierrez (25-1-1, 20 years old, lightweight); Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo (15-1, 26 years old, light middleweight)
Which Mexican prospect will have the best career?
Urbano Antillon (292 votes)
Marvin Quintero (8 votes)
Saul Alvarez (45 votes)
Abner Mares (58 votes)
Antonio DeMarco (11 votes)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (138 votes)
Other (50 votes)
602 total votes