In less than a month, Mexican boxing fans took a beating as two of its favorites figures were tumbled and crumbled in high profile fights.
More than 20,000 fans packed the Staples Center in downtown L.A. on January 24th to watch Antonio Margarito get pummeled by Shane Mosley in what was a miraculous rewinding of the clock for the 37 year old boxer from Pomona.
Amazingly, after a dismal performance against Ricardo Mayorga, Mosley destroyed the rugged and gritty fighter from Tijuana that some fans were already hailing as the new Julio Cesar Chavez. It was a brilliant performance by Mosley who somehow managed to fight like a 25 year old and battered the same man that crushed the soul of Miguel Cotto just months earlier.
Make no mistake about it. Most of those fans weren’t there to watch “Sugar” Shane be sweet. They were there to watch Margarito retire Mosley and to be part of the coronation of a Mexican boxing hero in the tradition of Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Cesar Chavez. But it was not to be as the re-vitalized Mosley stopped Margarito’s rise in its tracks.
Fast forward two weeks later to the Honda Center in Anaheim on a rainy Saturday as more than 5,000 rabid fans made up of mostly Mexicans and Armenians congregate to support the very popular Jorge Arce and Australian/Armenian world champion Vic Darchinyan as they fought for the Super Flyweight world title.
Arce gave as much of himself as any true warrior is expected to. The naturally smaller, former world champion came to fight but Darchinyan was too big, too awkward and too strong. Even in losing by referee stoppage before the twelfth round, “El Travieso” did not disappoint his fans. He was willing to come out for the last round and go out on his shield if he had to, but the referee called it a night for the Los Mochis, Sinaloa native.
With Margarito and Arce’s career hitting the skids and Israel Vazquez out on medical leave due to eye surgery, a real void has been created for fans of Mexican boxers.
Although Juan Manuel Marquez is still a player in the fight game, he’s never managed to create the kind of following that Margarito, Arce and Vazquez have enjoyed.
So who’s out there? Let’s take a look.
He’s one of boxing’s most devastating punchers who won the first of his legendary three fight series against Israel Vazquez. After the first win, he seemed destined for stardom until Vazquez beat him in the two following rematches by the closest of margins.
Marquez (37-5, 33 KO’s) is currently waiting on Vazquez to heal up so they can fight a fourth time. His career defining win remains against Vazquez but losing twice to him afterwards certainly derailed his shooting star. A win against Vazquez and someone like Juan Ma Lopez would put him back on track.
Alfredo “Perro” Angulo:
Who’s more fun to watch than Alfredo Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs)? Aside from Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez, no one brings the type of fireworks and electricity into the ring more than this former Mexican Olympian. The junior Middleweight promoted by Gary Shaw was supposed to fight Danny Perez after Ricardo Mayorga pulled out of their scheduled match on February 14. Perez also pulled out and will be replaced by journeyman tough guy Cosme Rivera. Angulo is still looking for a career defining win but his style is so exciting to watch that we’ll be tracking him every step of the way.
Tony De Marco:
Is Tony De Marco (20-1, 14 KOs) the next big thing? De Marco hails out of Tijuana and fought as part of the undercard of the Arce/Darchinyan event. He looked impressive in dismantling “Kid Diamond” before stopping him the ninth round. His calm demeanor in the ring against a dangerous opponent coupled with solid boxing skills makes this 23 year old an interesting prospect to watch.
So where are the rest?
There’s definitely a drought when it comes to legitimate fighters with star potential from south of the border. Mexican migration to the west coast over several generations means that a lot of those Mexican boxers are now Mexican-American, fighters like Victor Ortiz, Juan Diaz, Chris Arreola, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Vicente Escobedo. There are many other fighters just starting out in California and Texas that look promising but there are too many to mention. The Mexican fighting spirit still lives on in the children of immigrants who brought it with them along with their love for the sweet science.
“Maromero” Paez at the Honda Center:
Former world champion Jorge Paez Sr. was in attendance at the Honda Center wearing a bluish purple suit, big gaudy sunglasses and a strange haircut that consisted of one spike pointing upwards. The guy still has tons of fans as evinced by the lines that formed to get his autograph and the scene he caused as people yelled out his name. If he had a quarter for every signature and photo he’s taken for the fans over the years, I guarantee you “Maromero” would be pretty well off.
Fights in the stands:
I was very surprised that I made it through the whole Darchinyan-Arce card without seeing one fight in the stands. The energy was extremely high for only having about 5500 in attendance as the Armenian and Mexican fans waved their respective flags. Minutes after the Arce bout ended, a fight in the stands broke out which led to at least one person getting carted away in handcuffs by Anaheim’s finest.
I counted four big fights in the stands at the Margarito-Mosley card. They were far more entertaining than the under-card.
Bobby D. Show
Chris Martin (12-0, 2 KO’s) and Trinidad Mendoza (24-18-2, 19 KO’s) mix it up at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in San Diego on Thursday February 12th as part of a Bobby D. Presents promotion. Also on the card are Ronny Rios and Andrew Cancio. First fight at 7:30 p.m. For tickets call 619-420-8866.