Ranking the top Latino boxers of all time is not an easy task, to say the least. I left off Cuban Boxers like Savon and Stevenson because they were never pro’s and Cuban boxers were developed to win Olympic Gold and not pro titles. I know that nobody will ever entirely agree with anyone’s list, so by all means feel free to comment on your own top ten. To tell you the truth if I wrote this list ten times it would probably be different each time, except for my top 3.
10) Carlos Ortiz
Ortiz beat Kenny Lane to become the first Puerto Rican world boxing champion since Sixto Escobar more than 30 years before, and only the second Puerto Rican world boxing champion ever. Not much fanfare followed because little significance was given to the Junior Welterweight title he claimed. Instead of moving up a division like most Ortiz actually moved down to Lightweight to challenge Joe brown for the title. Ortiz claimed the lightweight title via a 15 round decision. He defended against Flash Elorde winning by 14th round stoppage and then lost the title to Ismael Laguna before regaining it in a rematch. The only time Ortiz was stopped in his entire career was his last fight a KO loss to Ken Buchanan.
9) Jose Napoles
Napoles a Cuban-born Mexican boxer and a World Welterweight Champion. He is frequently ranked as one of the greatest fighters of all-time in that division and was a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His record of the most wins in unified championship bouts in boxing history, shared with Muhammad Ali, was unbeaten for 40 years.
8) Julio Cesar Chavez
Chavez was at his best at lightweight and below. Padded record? Will you would be right on that account up until he won his first world title, then the competition got stronger beating the like of Roger Mayweather (two times), Jose Luis Ramirez, Edwin Rosario, Hector Camacho, and Meldrick Taylor
7) Salvador Sanchez
Sanchez would win the last 24 fights of his career. This streak included winning the WBC featherweight title in 1980 over the Hall of Famer Danny Lopez and defending it nine times—defeating notable featherweights Ruben Castillo, Patrick Ford, Juan La Porte, Roberto Castanon, Pat Cowdell, and Hall of Famers Lopez (again), Wilfredo Gomez and Azumah Nelson in the process. He died at just 23 years of age and what could have been will always be talked about with Sanchez. Maybe a super fight against Arguello? A showdown with Chavez, there are so many possibilities here that it’s mind-numbing.
6) Ruben Olivares
Olivares was a vicious knockout puncher who ruled the Bantamweight division when it was stacked with great fighters. Olivares record stands at a sublime 89-13-3. But under an upon closer examination, you can see that 11 of those losses came, not only at the tail end of his career but also above his optimum weight of 118 pounds. At 118 Olivares was virtually unbeatable. From the mid-60s to the mid-70s Olivares ruled 118 with an iron fist.
5) Kid Chocolate
To me, Chocolate is the greatest fighter to ever come out of Cuba. Chocolate became Cuba’s first world boxing champion when he knocked out the defending world Junior Lightweight champion Benny Bass in seven rounds to take the world title. Chocolate went undefeated during his first 56 fights. He made eight defenses of his title although he was unsuccessful in his bid to become the Lightweight champion. Chocolate became Cuba’s first world boxing champion when he knocked out the defending world Junior Lightweight champion Benny Bass in seven rounds to take the world title.
4) Alexis Arguello
Without a doubt the greatest fighter the country of Nicaragua has ever produced, the Thin man was dominating in three separate weight classes and won three world titles in three different categories: featherweight (1974-1977), super featherweight (1978-1980), and lightweight (1981- 1983). He won 82 out of 90 fights, 65 of which finished with KO. He came up just short of 4 titles losing the fight of the year in 1982 to Aaron Pryor.
3) Carlos Monzon
Monzon won the middleweight world championship in his 81st bout when he went to Rome to knock out the great Nino Benvenuti in 1970. He would defend that title an amazing 14 times over the next seven years including wins over Benvenuti again, Bad Bennie Briscoe, Emile Griffith twice, Jose Napoles, and a couple of decision wins over the Colombian Rodrigo Valdez. Monzon if not the greatest Middleweight of all time has to be in the top 3.
2) Eder Jofre
Actually, I was torn here because Jofre could easily beat out Duran he was that good. Only one man ever beat him and that was the great Masahiko “Fighting” Harada in Japan. The first loss to Harada was a huge upset because most viewed Jofre as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at that time. After those two gut-wrenching losses Jofre retired. Of course, as most boxers do Jofre would return to the ring 3 years later moving up to featherweight and going an amazing 25-0 and winning the title over Jose Legra. I could go on but I don’t need to because of Chris Smith’s Biography about Jofre which I highly recommend for any boxing fan. Order the book here.
1) Roberto Duran
Duran was one of the 3 greatest lightweight champions of all time, but he took it off the chart by moving up and beating a prime Sugar Ray Leonard at welterweight, then taking Marvelous Marvin Hagler the distance and finally upsetting the much bigger Iran Barkley to win a portion of the Middleweight title.