Friday, June 24, 2011

Career accomplishments of Vicente Saldivar

When mentioning Mexican greats, most automatically think of Chavez, Sanchez, and Olivares. Yet before all of them came Vicente Saldivar, who was not only one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all time, but one of the best southpaws in the history of the sport.

The first notable win over Saldivar's career was no easy one...he was matched up against the highly regraded HOF fighter Ismael Laguna. After a close battle, Saldivar upset the 34-1 Laguna, winning a 10 round decision and earning him a title shot. Less than a year later, Laguna would become Lightweight champion by defeating the ATG Carlos Ortiz.

Saldivar's title shot would be against the HOF Cuban featherweight Sugar Ramos. After a grueling fight over 10 rounds and a furious attack in the 11th, Ramos could not come out of his corner for the 12th round, awarding Saldivar the TKO win and the undisputed featherweight championship.

In his first title defense Saldivar went up against the undefeated top ten rated featherweight, Raul Rojas. Though Rojas made it to the 15th round, he was beaten throughout, and was finished off by an accumulation of punches that forced the referee to stop the fight. Rojas would go on to win a vacant WBA title strapa few years later.

Saldivar's next fight would begin his rivalry with Britain's Howard Winstone, who was one of the top 5 fighters in the division. Going to his opponents backyard, Saldivar had trouble with the clever boxing Winstone, but was able to win a 15 round decision with a consistant attack.

Next up was Ghana's top ten rated Floyd Robertson, who had earlier given previous champ Sugar Ramos trouble, dropping him but losing a decision. Vicente had no problems with Robertson at all however, rocking him early in the 2nd with a left hand and dropping him with a right hook. After an attack to the body and head, Robertson was put away with a short right hook to the jaw, ending the bout.

Saldivar's next title defense came against the OPBF champion, top 3 rated featherweight Mitsunori Seki. Saldivar defeated him twice in a row, once by 15 round decision and then again more convincingly by 7th round TKO.

In his last title defenses, Saldivar faced off against old opponent Harold Winstone, who had risen back up in the rankings. Saldivar again went to Britain to defend his title, and again defeated Winstone by decision, almost finishing him in the 14th round when Vicente trapped Winstone on the ropes. Saldivar came back and finished the job in a rematch 4 months later, when Winstone was dropped in the 12th and was taking enough punishment for his corner to throw in the towel. A mere 3 months later after this beating, Winstone won the vacant WBC strap.

After his series with Winstone, Saldivar would retire at a very young 24 years old, after 7 years of fighting professionally. Within two years Vicente would come out of retirement to face off against the number one rated featherweight in the world, Jose Legra, who had been featherweight champ a year before. Suffering from ring rust, Saldivar was hit early and put down in the 3rd round, but came back in the 4th with a prolonged body attack. By the 9th round Saldivar was staggering Legra and almost had the knockout in the 10th, but ran out of time since the fight was only 10 rounds. With this win, Saldivar got the opportunity to regain the featherweight crown. Legra would win the WBC featherweight title a few years later.

Saldivar's title shot came against Australia's Johnny Famechon, who had won the title from Legra and was coming off of two wins over the HOF former bantamweight champion Fighting Harada. Vicente successfully regained the featherweight title with a 15 round decision over the clever boxing Famechon. However, Saldivar lost his title in his first title defense against Japan's Kuniaki Shibata, retiring again after the 11th round. He half heartedly tried a comeback 3 years later against Eder Jofre, but got nowhere, and he finally settled into retirement permanently.

Notable victories over:
Ismael Laguna
Sugar Ramos
Raul Rojas
Howard Winstone
Floyd Robertson
Mitsunori Seki
Mitsunori Seki
Howard Winstone
Howard Winstone
Jose Legra
Johnny Famechon

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Career accomplishments of Alexis Arguello

The late Alexis Arguello was one of the greatest offensive machines in the history of boxing. 'El Flaco Explosivo' had a dynamite right hand, killer body shots, and could put together combinations that could take down almost any fighter that stood in front of him. He had success over 4 weight classes, beating a host of high level competition.

Arguello's first notable victory came in 1973, when he faced off against former featherweight champ Jose Legra. Earlier that year, Legra was considered the best featherweight in the world and had controversially lost to the ATG Eder Jofre in Jofre's backyard of Brazil. Arguello had no such controversy in beating Legra, by quickly KOing him in the 1st round, earning him a title shot.

Unfortunately, Arguello's first title shot would not go his way. The talented Ernesto Marcel of Panama was able to be a terrible style matchup for the 21 year old Arguello, and was able to potshot his way to a close decision victory.

Arguello immediately jumped back into title contention with a KO over top 3 rated Art Hafey, blasting him to the body in the 5th round only 3 months after his loss to Marcel.

Arguello again got his shot at the WBA featherweight title, this time against Mexican ATG Ruben Olivares. After taking punishment from the power punching Olivares over 12 rounds, Arguello hurt Olivares with a perfect left hook and finished the job, awarding him the 13th round knockout. Olivares would gain the WBC title strap a few months later over HOF fighter Bobby Chacon.

First up for Arguello was Lionel Hernandez, consider one of the 3 best featherweights in the world. Going to Hernandez's backyard of Caracas, Arguello TKOed Hernandez in the 8th round.

Arguello would then quickly dispose of unranked Rigoberto Riasco by taking him out in the 2nd round. Riasco would go on to win the vacant WBC super bantamweight strap.

Next up was the top ten rated and undefeated featherweight Royal Kobayashi. Arguello put together combinations and a blistering body attack, finally ending the fight with a painful left hook to the body in the 5th round. Kobayashi would go on to win the WBC super bantamweight strap from former challenger Rigoberto Riasco.

After KOing Salvador Torres of Mexico, Arguello would briefly jump up to 130lbs to beat top ten rated Ezequiel Cocoa Sanchez by doctor stoppage in the 4th, and then go back to 125lbs to take on Alfredo Escalara, the WBC super featherweight champ in Puerto Rico. Escalara was considered the best super featherweight in the world, but was stopped in the 13th round on cuts after being decked early.

A surprising upset loss came to Arguello after his knockout title defenses against OPBF champ Rey Tam and Diego Alcala, when he moved up in weight to take on former Lightweight challenger Vilomar Fernandez. Fernandez was able to fight defensively and potshot Arguello, like Marcel leading to a close decision loss.

Arguello was back in the ring within 4 months against top ten rated Arturo Leon, whom he defeated by decision, and then followed up with a rematch against Escalara, who he again finished off in the 13th round.

Next up was the tough top 3 rated Rafael 'Bazooka' Limon, who would go 11 rounds before being stopped on cuts. Limon would twice win the WBC super featherweight belt in the future and have a classic fight against Bobby Chacon.

Arguello would close up the year by facing off against top 5 rated Bobby Chacon, who was stopped on cuts after being barraged by punches. Chacon would go on to become WBC super featherweight champ. After having a tough time with the 46-0 Mexican Ruben Castillo, who was rated highly at featherweight, Arguello would TKO him in the 11th round. Castillo would multiple times challenge for a title, but fall short against fighters like Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, and Juan LaPorte. In his final title defense at 130lbs, Arguello would TKO Rolando Navarette in the 5th, who would become WBC super featherweight champ a year later.

Arguello then moved up to lightweight and first faced off against Cornelius Boza Edwards, who was well ranked at 130lbs. Edwards would become WBC super featherweight in the future. Arguello would then very controversially beat Jose Luis Ramirez over 10 rounds, with Arguello getting of the canvas in the 6th.

Arguello then challenged the highly rated Jim Watt for his WBC lightweight title in the UK, and was successful in a 15 round decision, with Watt being decked in the midrounds and taking a beating in the last rounds of the fight. Arguello would follow this victory with a 14th round TKO win over the 20-0 Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini, who would quickly become lightweight champ shortly after his loss to Arguello.

After knocking out Roberto Elizondo and James Busceme, Arguello would make his last title defense against top 3 rated Andrew Ganigan, who was fresh off his early round knockout over Sean O'Grady. Arguello was dropped in the first round, but came back to knock out Ganigan in a firefight. This was evidence that Arguello might have started slowing down.

Then came Arguello's most famous war against 140lb champion, Aaron Pryor. Over 13 brutal rounds Arguello fought evenly with Pryor, but after a late round surge Pryor came back from a slight point deficet to knock out Arguello in the 14th, in a battle that is considered one of the best of all time. Arguello would unsuccessfully try to win again in a rematch, but had faded too much due to the punishment of their last fight.

Most people assume Arguello's career was over, since Arguello was out of the ring for over 2 years. But Arguello attempted a brief comeback in 1985, and after an average win over Pat Jefferson was faced off against top 3 rated and former junior welterweight champ Billy Costello. Arguello was a punching bag for 3 rounds, but after trapping Costello on the ropes in the 4th dropped him with a perfect right hand. After rising unsteadily, Arguello would finish Costello off with an offensive assault. However, Arguello recongnised that he he didn't have much left, and retired again afte the victory.

Arguello didn't have a perfect record, but he faced a huge amount of high level competition and his power and offensive capabilities finish off almost any fighter. He was always in an entertaining fight, and his host of excellent wins puts him up there amongst many ATGs.

Notable wins:
Jose Legra
Art Hafey
Ruben Olivares
Leonel Hernandez
Rigoberto Riasco
Royal Kobayashi
Ezequiel Cocoa Sanchez
Alfredo Escalara
Arturo Leon
Alfredo Escalara
Rafael Limon
Bobby Chacon
Ruben Castillo
Rolando Navarette
Cornelius Boza Edwards
Jim Watt
Ray Mancini
Andrew Ganigan
Billy Costello