Wrote and posted by Rich Mancuso @World Wide Boxing Facebook.com
New York: Boxing has always been documented over the years and as we say here world wide. But a prevailing fact is the sport has been dominated by the Latino fighter. Every division is surrounded by a champion from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, and lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez is the son of a Honduran Immigrant.
In the recent era, not necessarily starting from 1983, there were more than 15 title holders that included Hall of Famer Hector Camacho, the first of the flamboyant Latino fighters.
In between there are the names of Carlos Ortiz, Alfredo Escalera, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfredo Benitez, and Chapo Rosario. The impact of what Felix “Tito” Trinidad accomplished in the ring made him an all-time hero in Puerto Rico. Four-division champion Miguel Cotto has always rivaled Trinidad as to who is number one.
The records and accomplishments leave little room for debate. And Puerto Rico is on the verge of crowning potential Olympic champions at the upcoming July Summer games in Tokyo, Japan.
Canelo Alvarez is destined to surpass Julio Cesar Chavez as the premier fighter from Mexico and Oscar De La Hoya established himself as a four-time champion.
Fans are a significant impact pertaining to the sport and the Latino fighter. In a recent interview Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum had this to say about the Latino fighter and their fan base.
“I wouldn’t say Hispanics are the last loyal fan base in boxing. But it is the most important fan base, because these people have never defected to other sports. Hispanic fans form the very hard core of the boxing business.”
Arum should know. Demographics are showing the Latino fan base are a reason ratings on the ESPN/Top Rank televised platforms are doing well. More so, under the Top Rank banner a majority of Arum’s fighters and champions are of Latino descent.
But in the boxing business it is that fan base that indeed gears toward their fighter. Miguel Cotto is a prime example as the significant Latino fighter of this recent era who could draw a crowd and spark that interest.
Cotto in his career finale at Madison Square Garden, and in defeat to Sadam Ali, was still a winner as the all-time single selling ticket holder for a fighter at the Garden. But it was that Latino fan base that became a Cotto tradition in New York as the Garden would rock with Puerto Rican pride seven times in the evening before the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.
Felix Trinidad was no different, and before him there was “Macho Time” in New York and at other venues.
De La Hoya, head of Golden Boy Boxing and Hall of Famer, witnessed first hand how the significance played a role in the sport. It was Mexico and Puerto Rico heritage when De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad fought for a title in 1999 at an arena in Las Vegas.
There was that fan base from Mexico and Puerto Rico with flags representing the country and Island. Prior to the fighters entrances into the ring the respective National Anthems showed that unity of a fan base for the Latino fighter and their support.
And only in the sport of boxing, and time-and-time again, does this show how significant the Latino fighter plays a role in the sport.
But Puerto Rico still has more than enough Hall of Fame quality champions to list on a pound-for-pound basis. What matters most is a sport dominated by the Latino fighter and all one has to do is review the rankings and champions listed in every division.
And the three largest pay per view events in boxing have been highlighted by Latino fighters including Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights against De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez which also adds to the significance.
Added to the equation are 25 of the largest boxing pay per view events that have featured 14 fighters of Latino descent. So Latino fighters and of course that important fan base speaks for itself. The boxing promoters are
aware of that impact.
Thursday evening at the Albergue Olimpico in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Angel Fierro came off the canvas twice against former lightweight world champion Alberto Machado and prevailed as Ring City USA continued to showcase the latest Puerto Rico vs. Mexico ring rivalry.
Fierro, the Mexican underdog may have scored the knockout of the year as a left hook put Machado on the canvas in round six. Yes, Ring City USA has a television contract with the NBC Sports Network and that adds to the significance of the Latino fighter.
Friday night the Boxeo Telemundo series continued their Winter run with another card highlighted with latino fighters from Tampa, Florida. Also, the PBC and Matchroom Boxing are doing their share and showcasing upcoming fighters and champions of Latino descent that are televised on Showtime, FOX Sports, and DAZN.
But Canelo Alvarez is the current face of boxing and that speaks volumes. His popularity goes beyond a Mexican fan base and a restructured contract with DAZN is a reflection of Alvarez’s appeal to those fly by night boxing fans. The popularity will continue with his third fight since December vs. Billy Joe Saunders in a super middleweight unification bout.
So take a good look. Next time you watch a fight go and count. I am sure the boxing card is dominated with an upcoming fighter or champion of Latino descent. Take a look at the ratings of every sanctioning organization and you will see the same.
Latinos are now dominant in the sport. And until further notice that will continue as was the case over the years with other enthic groups.
HAGLER REMEMBERED: As I wrote this week on NYsportsday.com Marvin Hagler and this current era of boxing was not for him. Fighters have a difficult time making weight. Hagler, the Hall of Famer, suddenly passed away last Saturday and he always made weight at 160. He held the middleweight title for seven years and today that is unheard of.
Then again, when Hagler fought the money was sufficient. There were limited promoters that could offer the vast revenue coming from streaming and cable networks that dominate boxing ,and there was little or no opportunity to jump back and forth and become a two or three division champion.
Hagler was a fighter, good for the sport. He had one manager, one trainer. Today, fighters go through managers and trainers as quickly as they spend the hard earned money they receive after taking numerous punches to the head and body.
He was an icon in and out of the ring and there can’t be any dispute about his accomplishments.
Marvin Hagler was “Marvelous” and that was appropriate. He decided and wanted to be known as “Marvelous.” Most fighters go before the cameras and enter the ring with a nickname. The Hagler nickname was fitting and not about the ego that fighters today are accustomed to using….
THROWING THE PUNCHES: Call me crazy but opening the gates to 60,000 or more fans for Canelo and Saunders at AT&T Stadium in Texas is stupid. Because this global pandemic is far from over, chances are COVID will not be knocked out and filling that stadium to capacity is a risk.
This has me asking the questions. Yes there will be a revenue stream and no doubt the largest contingent of fans that will gather at a sports venue since the pandemic hit last March.
But I wonder about the medical and government authorities in Texas and their judgment here? If this is about revenue, no doubt what Matchroom and promoters have lacked the past year, they are obviously not concerned about the safety of those fans who will be side by side and obviously many won’t be social distancing or wearing a face mask…
Get your tickets now, though probably in the UK or some other venue out of the country because Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will deliver two fights for the unified heavyweight championship. Seeing is believing as they say when it comes to unifying the heavyweight title.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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