Hernandez won the 130lb title in 1991 with a stoppage of Daniel Londas. Eight defenses would follow before Hernandez dropped his belt to move up and fight Oscar De La Hoya. Not good. Hernandez was brutally beaten by De la Hoya. Hernandez dropped back to 130 and ended the reign of ageing Azumah Nelson. He followed that up with points wins over Anatoly Alexandrov and Carlos Hernandez. He would lose his title in a defense against an up-and-coming fighter named Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Rocky held the WBA title from 1984-85. He made three defenses. Two years later he captured the IBF strap, defending his belt three times. He faced five titlists (Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Roger Mayweather, Wilfredo Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Tony Lopez), defeating the first two. He sensationally knocked out Mayweather in the first round. Lockridge lost twice (debatable) to Wilfredo Gomez and Julio Cesar Chavez. Many thought he deserved the decision over Chavez. He also beat Harold Knight, Johnny De Larosa, and Barry Michael before losing two close decisions to Tony Lopez at Arco Arena.
Chocolate captured the title with a seventh-round stoppage of Benny Bass while continuing to compete against the best in other weight classes. In defense of his 130lb crown, Chocolate got by tough Lew Feldman and Hall of Famer Fidel LaBarba, with whom he had a very intriguing rivalry. Chocolate was one of Cuban’s greatest fighters and should be near the top of any list of the greatest to come from that country.
Mitchell lost his seventh fight and would never lose again. My issue with Mitchell was he never fought Azumah Nelson, but Mitchell was the ultimate road warrior. Mitchell won the title by stopping champion Alfredo Layne. He would then add the scalp of future titlist Daniel Londas in 1987 over fifteen and closed his title reign with three great performances. A decision over an undefeated Frankie Mitchell was followed by a unification battle with Tony Lopez at Arco Arena in Sacramento, which of course was Lopez’s hometown. The draw was largely decried as hometown cooking. After being stripped of his WBA crown, Mitchell entered the immediate rematch as the ‘challenger.’ Mitchell turned in what would be his last great performance, leaving Arco with a unanimous decision over Lopez.
Chavez was not dominant at 130 and in my eyes. His wins over Rocky Lockridge and Juan LaPorte were iffy at best and at worst he lost them both. His reign started well with a title win over the durable Mario Martinez, followed by a devastating two-round knockout of Roger Mayweather. He then moved up in weight and the rest, as they say, is history.
Elorde was one of the greatest Filipinos ever to lace up the gloves. Elorde had quick fists and could take a punch. As a junior lightweight, he contested seven bouts, splitting with the great Sandy Saddler, stopping Harold Gomes twice to win and defend the title, and outpointing Rene Barrientos in a non-title bout. He lost his title to Yoshiaki Numata in a rematch.
Nelson burst on the scene in 1982 giving the great Salvador Sanchez all he could handle. A couple of years later he moved up to 130 to fight Mario Martinez for the title that the great Julio Cesar Chavez had vacated. Nelson would go on to reign for the next six years, beating Martinez in a rematch. He also defeated one of the more underrated fighters of the 1980s in Juan LaPorte. To be fair he got a gift draw against Jeff Fenech on the undercard to Mike Tyson/Razor Ruddock rematch. But he went to Australia to give Fenech a rematch and Nelson turned in one of the finest performances of his career stopping Fenech. He then beat future titleist Gabe Ruelas before fighting a draw against Jesse James Leija, which would lead to a classic four-fight series with Leija.
The Pac Man’s first fight at 130 was a close decision loss to Erik Morales. He avenged that loss to Morales twice. He also beat Juan Manuel Marquez, and Marco Antonio Barrera at 130 before moving up.
Mayweather dominated the 130-pound division. He breezed through his early competition en route to a stopping Genaro Hernandez in only his 18th pro outing. He followed that with a two-round destruction of the game and tough Angel Manfredy and kept racking up wins even with contract disputes and family issues galore. In 2001, Mayweather turned in what might have been his finest performance. His opponent was the late Diego Corrales, undefeated at the time and heavy-handed. Mayweather was never better at any point in his career than he was on this night. Mayweather made Corrales look extremely ordinary. Corrales was a great champion.
The thin man was dominant at 130 and very few saw the final bell. Alfredo Escalera? Twin 13th round stoppages in classics, the first to capture the WBA title after a strong title run at featherweight. Bazooka Limon? Gone in eleven; Bobby Chacon in seven. Rolando Navarette in five. Cornelius Boza-Edwards made it to the eighth round. He also beat undefeated and tough Ruben Castillo. It was not only the fact that he beat some very good competition at this weight. It was how he beat them, which was devastating.
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