Is the celebrated Mexican boxing culture on a bit of a downturn right now? Ted Sares looks back at a rough 2009 for Mexican and Mexican-American fighters.
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Mexico and Puerto Rico have always been considered elite locales in boxing, but something seems to have changed ever so slightly.
Certainly, Mexican and Mexican-American boxers have had better years than in 2009 when Mexican-American slugger Christobal Arreola was dismantled by Vitally Klitschko (though he is still very much in the mix), Juan Manuel Marquez was schooled by Floyd Mayweather. Jr., Hector Velazquez lost 3 of 4 in 2009, "Action" Jackson Asiku beat Heriberto "Cuate" Ruiz for the vacant IBO featherweight title via the 3 knockdown rule, Steve Molitor beat Ruiz earlier in the year, Celestino Caballero stopped Francisco "Franky" Leal, Vic Darchinyan crunched both Jorge Arce and Tomas Rojas, Simphiwe Nongqayi then beat a come-backing Arce in September after having dispatched Francisco "Panchito" Arce earlier in the year. Later, the iron chin of Librado Andrade was shockingly dented by Lucien Bute, and even monster Alfredo Angulo suffered an upset defeat at the hands of Kermit Cintron. Juan Diaz was beaten at least once by Paulie Malignaggi. Raul Martinez was stopped by Nonito Donaire in April.
Victor Ortiz was stopped by Marcos "El Chino" Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera lost a TD to Amir Khan, Jhonny Gonzalez was TKOd by Toshiaki Nishioka before coming back with two wins, Nishioka also stopped Mexicans Ivan Hernandez and Genaro Garcia during the year. Chris John beat Rocky Juarez at least once in 2009. And Jorge Barrios stopped Michael Lozada.Tough Hugo Fidel Cázares was held to a draw by young Nobuo Nashiro in September. In still another shock, Aging Jesus Chavez was brutalized by Michael Katsidis and lost two others during the year, Edgar Sosa was waxed by Filipino Rodel Mayol and Ulises Solis was sent to Guadalajara dreamland by the "Hawaiian Punch," Brian Vilroia. In April. Julio "The Kidd" Diaz went 0-2 in 2009 and so did Cruz Carbajal, Ernesto "Baby Face" Zepeda lost 2 in 2009 as well. Kelly Pavlik dispatched Miguel Angel Espino and Marco Antonio Rubio. And of course, we all know what happened to Antonio Margarito when he fought Sugar Shane Mosley.
And to make matters worse, Juan Carlos Salgado, who shocked the boxing world by starching highly touted Jorge Linares, was himself iced by Takashi Uchiyama to start off 2010.
In upcoming fights, Edwin Valero will be the certain favorite when he fights Tony DeMarco and so will Juan Manuel Lopez when he dukes with Steve Luevano.
In summary, Juan Manuel Marquez arguably may be the only elite Mexican boxer out there and he is 35 years old. Thus, it may be up to the likes of Arreola, DeMarco, Juan Carlos Burgos, Humberto Soto, Saul Alvarez, Fernando Beltran Jr, Steven Luevano, Cristobal Cruz, Fernando Montiel, Abner Mares, Hugo Fidel Cázares, Giovanni Segura, Martin Honorio, Humberto Soto, Giovanni Segura, David Lopez and some others to restore what seemed to have been lost luster in 2009.
Will we ever see another Chavez, Barrera, Morales, Vazquez, Arce, Mijares, and both Marquez's again? I'm betting we will, but not before the current resurgence in Thai, Japanese and Pinoy boxing runs its course--or am I being unfair here and this is simply a generational transition?