The Top Ten Puerto Rican Boxers Of All Time
With Edgar Berlanga main eventing this week on ESPN against Steve Rolls, and Xander Zayas featured in the co-main event, we thought it might be a good time to look at the greatest Puerto Rican boxers of all time. Here is the list ITRBoxing’s staff came up with.
01) Felix Trinidad
Accomplishments: When you think of Puerto Rican boxing, you think of Felix “Tito” Trinidad. You might say on paper one fighter might have a better or resume, but to the people of Puerto Rico – Tito is king. A – champion, who when he got dropped always would drop his opponent back. The heart and soul of Puerto Rican boxing.
Title Wins: Maurice Blocker (IBF 140 lbs), Oscar De La Hoya (WBC 147 lbs), David Reid (WBA 154 lbs), Fernando Vargas (IBF 154 lbs), and William Joppy (160 lbs).
Criticism: Trinidad lost his fair share of big fights, but also had a major promoter backing him for most of his career, as well as was HUGE ticket seller, boxing seems to work better if you sell tickets and have a major promoter. Some point to Trinidad as a fighter who benefited from circumstances he was put in.
02) Wilfredo Gomez
A three-division world champion that many consider the greatest super bantamweight of all-time was a master of turning defense into offense, and one of the biggest punchers in the lower weights. A big reason was Salvador Sanchez is thought of so highly is because of his win over Gomez
Title Wins: Dong Kyun Yum (WBA 122 lbs), Juan La Porte (WBC 126 lbs), and Rocky Lockridge (WBA 130 lbs)
Criticism: In hindsight I wish we could have gotten more of him at 122 lbs.
03) Hector Camacho
Accomplishments: One of the most colorful personalities boxing has ever seen. Prime Camacho was one of the five best Puerto Rican Fighters ever, but addiction hurt his career badly. Camacho invented the ring walk, and was social media before social media. Camacho is the reason that New York City is veiwed as the venue for Puerto Rican boxers to this day. A true all-time great.
Title Wins: Carmelo Negron (NY Golden Gloves), Rafael Limon (WBC 130 lbs), Jose Luis Ramirez (WBC 135 lbs), Tony Baltaza (WBO 140 lbs), and Greg Haugen (WBO 140 lbs)
Criticism: What could have been. “Macho Time” was one of the fastest fighters ever, but his vices outside of the ring took over at a certain point leading to a shortened prime, and one of which, not unlike Adrien Broner – when they left their prime, the guy we fell in love with, never came back.
04) Carlos Ortiz
Accomplishments: The first WBC lightweight world champion, a pioneer, and holds the most world title wins at lightweight at ten. A major influence on fighters like Miguel Cotto and Wilfredo Gomez. When we think of the Puerto Rican boxing tropes, they started with Ortiz, and he fought in an era, where you just had to fight people. Ortiz could do everything, but for that reason was not one of the more fun fighters to watch, as he didn’t have one trait that jumped out of the screen at you.
Title Wins: Kenny Lane (NYSAC 140 lbs), Joe Brown (WBA 135 lbs), (WBC 135 lbs), Ismael Laguna (WBA & WBC 135 lbs)
Ortiz is 14-4, with 9 KOs in world title fights.
Criticism: He produced similar performances against great fighters to lower-tier fighters it is easy to overlook or sum up his career quickly because a lot of his fights looked very similar making him one of the hardest legends to watch.
05) Miguel Cotto
Accomplishments: As big of a star as “Tito” Trinidad and Camacho, who fought all the greats of his era. A boxing icon with iconic look and an iconic style. A good boxer, who started his career out with a huge knockout streak, leading to many different periods in his career. Sad, that his prime was impacted by Antonio Margarito, who was caught with weapons in his handwraps, as Cotto would still go on to be great, but a bit of luster was lost in that bout – even after he avenged the loss.
Title Wins: Kelson Pinto (WBO 140 lbs), Carlos Quintana (WBA 147 lbs), Michael Jennings (WBO 147 lbs), Yuri Foreman (WBA 154 lbs), Sergio Martinez (WBC 160 lbs), and Yoshihiro Kamegai (WBO 154 lbs)
Miguel Cotto was 20-6, with 16 KOs in world title fights.
Criticism: When Cotto fought the true greats of his era, he never won. Cotto was the guy who lost to the stars such as Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez, and Manny Pacquiao.
06) Wilfred Benitez
Accomplishments: One of the best defensive boxers ever. The king of the fifteen rounders as he would seemingly take the greats all the rounds. Benitez beat Roberto Duran, and gave Thomas Hearns one of his hardest fights.
Title Wins: Antonio Cervantes (WBA 140 lbs), Carlos Palomino (WBC 147 lbs), Maurice Hope (WBC 154 lbs)
Benitez record in world title fights is 8-2, with 2 KOs.
Criticism: Had trouble seperating himself at he highest level of the sport against the all-time greats. Could give anyone a tough fight, but seemingly could never pull away, it was always a debate who won the bouts at the highest level.
07) Ivan Calderon
Accomplishments: Considered the best 105 lbs boxer ever, not named Ricardo “Finito” Lopez. A fighter who engaged in brutal wars, and as I said prior, to be known in the 105-118 lbs weight class, you have to be truly great. He had an amateur rival of Brian Viloria and was one of the most interesting fighters of his time. Calderon’s name meant something. Calderon’s boxing skill was in the same conversation as Guillermo Rigondeaux and Floyd Mayweather.
Title Wins: Eduardo Ray Marquez (WBO 105 lbs), Hugo Fidel Cazares (WBO 108 lbs)
Calderon has a record of 18-3-1, 2 KOs in world title fights.
Criticism: The problem with a lot of defensive fighters, not being busy enough against aggressive fighters.
08) Wilfredo Vasquez
Accomplishments: A three-division world champion who saw his best work and accomplishments at super bantamweight – was viewed as one of “Prince” Naseem Hamed’s most legitimate wins. A really big puncher.
Title Wins: Chan Yong Park (WBA 118), Raul Perez (WBA 122 lbs), and Eloy Rojas (WBA 126 lbs.)
Vasquez has a world title record of 16-4-1, with 9 KOs.
Criticism: Beat the good, and lots to the great. Couldn’t quite beat the elite fighters.
09) Edwin Rosario
Accomplishments: He held the lightweight world title three times in his era, and was known as one of the biggest punchers. Just couldn’t beat the top guy of the era who happened to be Julio Cesar Chavez. No shame in that, Rosario is a legendary puncher, and a long-reigning champion.
Title wins: Jose Luis Ramirez (WBC 135 lbs), Livingstone Bramble (WBA 135 lbs), Anthony Jones (WBA 135 lbs), Loreto Garza (WBA 140 lbs)
Rosario was 7-5 with 5 KOs in world title fights.
Criticism: Didn’t have the fastest feet in the world, and was known to start slow in fights.
10) Amanda Serrano
Accomplishments: The greatest Puerto Rican Women’s fighter ever, as she is a seven-division world champion. Serrano seemingly couldn’t find a weight class in which she couldn’t win her title, years ahead of the competition as her power was generational. A true legend.
Title Wins: Kimberly Connor (IBF 130 lbs.), Maria Maderna (WBO 135 lbs.), Olivia Gerula (WBO 126 lbs), Alexandra Lazar (WBO 130 lbs.), Dahiana Santana (WBO 118 lbs.), Yamila Esther Reynoso (WBO 140 lbs.), Heather Hardy (WBO 126 lbs.), Daniela Romina Bermúdez (WBC & WBO 126 lbs)
Criticism: At times had the same issues as Edwin Rosario, got hit a bit, and didn’t love to fight movers.
Pedro Montanez, Esteban De Jesus, Danny Garcia, Jose Torres, Subriel Matias, Gabriel Rosado, Jose Torres, Fres Oquendo and John Ruiz