In anticipation of tonight's rematch between WBO featherweight titlist Orlando Salido of Mexico and Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico, Showtime analyst Steve Farhood lists his top ten fights in the long and storied history of the Mexico vs Puerto Rico boxing rivalry.
There have been some unforgettable matchups over the years involving world class prizefighters hailing from these respective countries that idolize their boxing champions. Showtime expert analyst Steve Farhood delivered his Top 10 fights.
Said Farhood: "Nothing stirs the passion of Hispanic fight fans like the 30-plus-year rivalry between the boxing greats of Mexico and Puerto Rico. I've picked out 10 that I consider the best of the best."
In this Top 10, Mexico leads Puerto Rico 6-4.
Listed in chronological order:
Wilfredo Gomez KO 5 Carlos Zarate, Oct. 28, 1978, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico (Retains WBC super bantamweight title): In a shocker, undefeated and long-reigning bantamweight titlist Zarate, 52-0, struggles to make weight, then struggles further with Puerto Rico's 21-year-old Gomez, 21-0-1. Zarate crashes to the canvas three times.
Wilfred Benitez W 15 Carlos Palomino, Jan. 14, 1979, San Juan (Wins WBC welterweight title): Twenty-year-old Puerto Rican prodigy Benitez, 36-0-1, wins by split decision over established champion Palomino, 27-1-3. Benitez boxes brilliantly off the ropes.
Salvador Sanchez KO 8 Wilfredo Gomez, Aug. 21, 1981, Las Vegas (Retains WBC featherweight title): In arguably the most anticipated Mexico-Puerto Rico matchup of all, Mexico's elegant Sanchez, 40-1-1, issues Gomez, 32-0-1, the first defeat of his career.
Wilfredo Gomez KO 14 Lupe Pintor, Dec. 3, 1982, New Orleans (Retains WBC super bantamweight title): One of the most brutal bouts of the decade ends with Gomez, 37-1-1, wearing down Mexican bantamweight titlist Pintor, 49-5-1. The memorable war is the co-feature to Thomas Hearns-Wilfred Benitez at the Superdome.
Edwin Rosario W 12 Jose Luis Ramirez, May 1, 1983, San Juan (Wins vacant WBC lightweight title); Ramirez KO 4 Rosario, November 3, 1984, San Juan (Wins WBC lightweight title): Only 20 years old, Puerto Rico's Rosario, 21-0, edges rugged southpaw Ramirez, 82-4, in the first fight. Ramirez gains revenge in the rematch, miraculously surviving a pair of knockdowns.
Julio Cesar Chavez KO 11 Edwin Rosario, Nov. 21, 1987, Las Vegas (Wins WBA lightweight title): Mexican icon Chavez, 56-0, moves up from 130 pounds, adding his second title by dominating the hard-punching Rosario, 31-2.
Julio Cesar Chavez W 12 Hector Camacho, Sept. 12, 1992, Las Vegas (Retains WBC super lightweight title): In a dominant performance, the indomitable Chavez, 81-0, pressures "Macho Man" Camacho, 40-1, but can't get him to submit. The win is Chavez's ninth defense.
Felix Trinidad KO 4 Yori Boy Campas, Sept. 17, 1994, Las Vegas (Retains IBF welterweight title): In a battle of unbeatens, 21-year-old phenom Trinidad, 23-0, rises from a second-round knockdown and keeps the crown by halting steel-chinned Mexican challenger Campas, 56-0.
Antonio Margarito KO 11 Miguel Cotto, July 26, 2008, Las Vegas (Wins WBA welterweight title): Mexican veteran Margarito, 36-5, scores a big upset, outlasting pound-for-pounder Cotto, 32-0, in a savage punchout.
Giovani Segura KO 8 Ivan Calderon, Aug. 28, 2010, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (Retains WBA light flyweight title; Wins WBO light flyweight title): In a classic matchup of styles, Mexican bomber Segura, 24-1-1, issues Puerto Rican stylist Calderon, 34-0-1, his first defeat in a strong candidate for fight of the year.