Latinos Are Some Of The Strongest And Best Boxers And These Athletes Prove It
Boxing is the one sport in which those individuals that come from an underprivileged background or have had to lace up the gloves to escape street violence can have their own rags to riches stories. Many of the greatest boxers of all time come from ethnic and cultural minorities, or from Global South regions such as Latin America. Today, world boxing is dominated by a handful of Latin American boxers and fighters of Latino origin in the United States. From junior flyweight all the way to heavyweight, Latino boxers are enjoying a dominance that translates into accomplished dreams and millions of dollars. Here are 13 established and upcoming fighters across most of the weight classes that are vanquishing their opposition and writing their names on the annals of global pugilism.
1. Saúl Canelo Álvarez
Weight class: middleweight
The current king of boxing in financial terms. No one has made more money after Floyd Mayweather retired from boxing a couple of years ago. The Mexican Canelo has just signed a $350 million dollar deal with the streaming service DAZN and will fight again on September 14, Mexican Independence weekend, in Las Vegas. His opponent is yet to be confirmed, but it seems it will not be Gennady Golovkin, but perhaps the world light-heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev. If that is the case and Canelo defeats him, he will prove his worth against a much heavier and much more powerful puncher. By this point we are all surprised by the amazing things Canelo can accomplish in the ring.
2. Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz
Weight class: heavyweight
This native of Imperial Valley became an elite boxer after soundly defeating British champ Anthony Joshua in a shocking fashion. No one, other than experts and insiders, would have predicted a KO win by Ruiz, whose flabby physique contrasted with the muscular Joshua. He will make millions in the rematch, which is rumored for September, and win or lose he will increase his popularity among Latinos the world over. Mexican-Americans can now claim a champ amongst them.
3. Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada
Weight class: super flyweight
This Mexican veteran is a true master of the craft. He recently defeated the Thai dynamo Sor Rungvisai, who had defeated the amazing Nicaraguan Chocolatito Gonzalez. Estrada combines savvy counterpunching with exquisite lateral movements and is bound to become a top pound-for-pound star in the lower weight classes.
4. Teofimo Lopez
Weight class: lightweight
This brutal puncher has quickly established himself as the top prospect in boxing. He is an American of Central American descent, and his fists have put him in line to challenge the pound-for-pound king, Ukranian Vassily Lomachenko. Only time will tell how far this bombastic pugilist will go, but he is must-watch TV and the diamante en bruto of powerful promoter Bob Arum.
5. Zurdo Ramirez
Weight class: light heavyweight
This powerful Mexican ex-champ recently moved up from super middleweight, where he enjoyed a great reign. He is ready to mingle with the big boys in the light heavyweight class. He is hungry and undefeated, a deadly combination. His persona is as ranchero as it comes, sombrero included, so he has captivated Latino audiences in the United States.
6. Luis Panterita Nery
Weight class: bantamweight
This former champ is undefeated and fights in a category in which the indomitable Monster, Japanese fighter Inoue, reigns supreme. Nery, a native of Tijuana, reminds us of the great Erik Terrible Morales in his precision punching and big cojones. After losing his title on the scale he is ready for big things and making up for lost time.
7. Rigoberto “El Chacal” Rigondeaux
Category: super bantamweight
This Cuban fighter is one of the best amateurs in history and has only one defeat in his record. He has been around for a while, but because of his exquisite defensive skills he is sometimes deemed as a boring fighter. In his latest fight, however, he went toe-to-toe with Mexican Julio Ceja, which made for a more audience-friendly demonstration of the escuela cubana del boxeo.
8. Elwin “Pulga” Soto
Weight class: junior flyweight
This Mexican just scored a huge upset by knowking out Puerto Rican raising star Angel Acosta. Mexico has given amazing fighters in this category (remember Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez?), and Soto could be the next in line to be a Hall of Famer. Even if his skills have to be polished a bit more, he possesses a fighting style reminiscent of the great punchers of the 1970s.
9. Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Weight class: welterweight
Some consider him the top prospect in boxing. He fights in an elite category that includes Errol Spence Jr. and Terrence Crawford, perhaps two of the best fighters in the world. Ortiz has just demolished every single opponent due to his precise body punching and fierceness. His motto: hard work. He takes nothing for granted and seems to be destined for greatness. Born in the United States, Ortiz is proud of his heritage and often wears the Mexican national colors, verde blanco colorado.
10. Jaime Munguia
Weight class: super welterweight
This young champ started making headlines in 2018, when he was mentioned as a possible opponent for Gennady Golovkin when the May 2018 fight against Canelo fell through. Munguia is an all-action fighter that, however, still needs some work on his defense. He will eventually fight Canelo or GGG and surely produce an unforgettable fight. The native of Tijuana signed with streaming DAZN, just like Canelo, so we are sure there are big plans in store for him. But, as we said, he has to work on his defense or a big puncher might take him.
11. King Ryan Garcia
Weight class: super featherweight
The Mexican-American golden boy has been touted as the successor of Oscar De la Hoya and Canelo: he is a charmer who is as galancito with the ladies as he is a killer in the ring. He possesses otherworldly speed and good instincts inside the ring. He is yet to be tested, though, which reveals the care that promoter Oscar De la Hoya has had in not rushing him into the elite circles just yet.
12. David Benavidez
Weight class: super middleweight
This former super middleweight champ was stripped from his title in 2018 after testing positive for cocaine. He is back with a vengeance and after admitting his guilt on social media he is determined to get back what he lost out of his own fault. Only time will tell, but he has one of the fastest hands in the upper divisions. A fight against Zurdo Ramirez would be a barn burner, one of those Latino classics. He is a native of Phoenix, Arizona.
13. Luis “King Kong” Ortiz
Weight class: heavyweight
This gargantuan Cuban puncher was very close to becoming the champ when he had Deontay Wilder on the verge of a knockout. He eventually lost a few rounds later but will fight a rematch in September. If he pulls off the upset, and he very well might be given his technique and ring generalship, we will have two Latinos, him and Andy Ruiz, calling the shots in the holy grail of boxing: the heavyweight championship of the world.