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Ranking the best Argentinian fighters ever

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  • Ranking the best Argentinian fighters ever

    And now, for the first time, we step outside Europe to visit a great boxing nation of South America-Argentina. No other South American country has produced nearly as many world champions and world class boxers as Argentina. From the great defensive fighters like Nicolino Locche and Hugo Pastor Corro, to punchers and warriors such as Oscar Bonavena, Luis Firpo, Victor Galindez and Julio Cesar Vasquez and also to guys that could box and punch like the great Carlos Monzon, Argentinian boxers have always known success. So, let's go!

    1. Carlos Monzon

    "Escopeta" was his nickname, meaning shotgun. Carlos Monzon was a man of great fighting skills and one of the greatest middleweights the word has known. Born to a poor family of Gaucho (Indigenous) heritage in Santa Fe, Monzon fought his way out of poverty and into the bright lights of the ring. He was blessed with a very good size for a middleweight at around 6 feet (some sources claim he was as tall as 6'2!) and of lean and muscular build. He lost 3 fights early on in his career, last one in 1964, and would not lose again for the last 13 years of his career. He could box as well as anyone and punch as well as probably anyone in the division at the time. He famously won the world title by knocking out the great Nino Benvenuti with a single right hand in round 12 in November 1970. In the rematch, he stopped Benvenuti in 3 rounds. He went on to make (a then record) 14 defenses as the world champion, even though at one point he got stripped for not fighting Rodrigo Valdez. He eventually agreed to fight him and won the WBC belt back in a close and gruelling fight which he won by UD15. They had a rematch and this time he was dropped in round 2 but came back to assert himself eventually and again won by UD, 30 July 1977, which turned out to be his last fight. His 35th birthday just around the corner, Monzon retired with a fabulous record of 87 wins, 59 by ko, only 3 losses and 9 draws, among them one against Bennie Briscoe, who gave him two tough fights. Monzon was known as a party animal and the boredom in retirement eventually drove him crazy. He ended up pushing his wife out of the window and served 7 years before dying in a car accident in January 1995 while on furlough. He was 52 and in 1990 he was inducted into the IBHOF. He was also named fighter of the year by The Ring in 1972. There will never be another Carlos Monzon.

    2. Nicolino Locche

    One of the greatest defensive fighters the world has ever known, Locche was featherfisted but despite being a defensive wizard, still came to fight. He famously made Takeshi Fuji quit after 10 rounds, in his WBA title-winning fight in 1968. Out of 136 fights, he lost only 4, 2 of them at the end of his career. Born to Italian immigrant parents in Tunuyan, Mendoza, Locche turned pro in December 1958 and lost for the first time against the vastly more experienced Vicente Milan Derado on points. He won the South American lightweight title in April 1965 by decisioning Abel Laudonio. In September 1966 he decisioned the famous Italian technician and briefly a world champon Sandro Lopopolo by UD10. He also avenged the loss to Derado by stopping him by TKO6. He also defeated another world champion at 140, Eddie Perkins, by 10 round decision in 1967. After going undefeated in 40 fights, he finally got to fight for the WBA light welter title against Takeshi Fuji in Kokugan, Tokyo, 12 December 1968. Locche outclassed and pounded Fuji into surrendering on his stool after 10 rounds. He made his first defense against the dangerous Venezuelan puncher and former WBA champion, Carlos "Morocho" Hernandez on 3 May next year. He surprisingly put Hernandez down twice and was down once himself before winning by lopsided scores. He made his second defense against undefeated Joao Henrique of Brazil and won by UD and also in his third defense he won by the same result against American Adolph Pruitt. In his fourth defense against Spaniard Domingo Barrera, Locche got unlucky and broke two tendons in his left arm and had to fight with one hand for the rest of the fight. Thus, the fight was closer than usual, but Locche still knocked Barrera's mouthpiece of and staggered him twice in the late rounds, to win by split decision. His last successful defense was against Colombian legend Antonio Cervantes and Locche won by UD. He lost his title against Alfonso "Peppermint" Frazer of Panama, fighting away in Panama City on 10 March 1972. Frazer was simply too strong for him but the fight was competitive. On 17 March1973, he had his last world title match against Cervantes and was no longer his old self. He had to surrender on his stool after 9 rounds, due to excessive bleeding. Locche retired in 1976, after winning 7 more fights. His record reads 117 wins with 14 ko's, 4 losses and 14 draws. He had to wait till 2003 to be inducted by the IBHOF.

    3. Victor Emilio Galindez

    The greatest Argentinian and probably South American light heavyweight ever. Galindez was a scrapper, a bull in the ring, but also had sufficient skills and not least the punch. He was also extremely durable and could take a good punch, only getting stopped three times in late rounds. He turned pro in 1969 after not doing well in the '68 Olympics. He won the WBA title by stopping Len Hutchins by corner retirement in 12, 7 December 1974 in Buenos Aires, his hometown. He would defend the title successfully 10 times, most notably beating Pierre Fourie twice, by UD and SD respectively, knocking out Richie Kates in 15, decisioning Yaqui Lopez and finally Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, which was his best victory. He decisioned Lopez twice, but both times the verdict was considered controversial. The 5'9 Galindez probably struggled with the 6'2 Lopez's height and range. He lost the title to Mike Rossman by TKO13 15 September 1978 at Superdome in New Orleans. He had struggled to make the weight and was obviously not at his best that night. He recaptured the title and avenged the loss by stopping Rossman by corner retirement in 9, 14 April 1979, again at Superdome in NO. However, this triumph was shortlasting as he lost his title again to Marvin Johnson, who stopped him by KO11, 30 November at Superdome. The fight had been close until then. It was now clear the 31-yearold had already lost his prime and after he lost a unanimous decision to Jesse Burnett in June 1980, he retired from the game. His record is 55 wins with 34 ko's, 9 losses and 4 draws. Tragically, Galindez was killed just 4 months after his last fight, after being hit by another car during a stock car race. He was only a week short of his 32nd birthday. He was inducted into IBHOF in 2002 and was ranked the 11th greatest light heavy of all time that same year by The Ring.

    4. Sergio Martinez

    The very athletic and fast Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez was one of the best and most talented middleweights of this century. He won the WBC middleweight title twice and the interim WBC light middleweight belt once. Martinez was a complete package, with great footwork, speed, knockout power and a solid chin and defense. In 2000, the 25-yearold Martinez got stopped by Antonio Margarito by TKO7, in a fight that came too soon for him. He improved vastly after that and was undefeated for the next 9 years. He first won the IBO super welter/light middle title in 2003 by UD12 over Richard Williams in Manchester. He defended it twice, knocking out Adrian Stone in 12 and stopping Richard Williams by TKO in 9, before vacating it. In October 2008, he finally got to fight for the interim world title and outclassed Alex Bunema before stopping him by a corner retirement in 8 to win the interim WBC title. In February, he would experience a very controversial draw against Kermit Cintron, which can be called one of the worst decisions ever. He then decided to jump to 160 and challenged Paul Williams, at the time rated very highly and with a record of 37-1. The fight was in December that year and they exchanged knockdowns in round one, before Williams in the end unjustly won by a majority decision. Everybody agreed Sergio had been robbed once again in USA. He still got to fight the WBC champion, Kelly Pavlik, 17 April 2010 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. He cut up Pavlik early on and despite being knocked down once in round 7, he went on to dominate and outbox the much taller champion. He won by UD. In his first defense in on 20 November, he got the revenge for the Williams loss when he knocked Williams out cold with a single left hook in just 2 rounds. It got the knockout of the year award from The Ring.He was also named the fighter of the year by them. He then relinquished his title because he refused to fight Sebastian Zbik and instead fought the 37-0 Serhiy Dzinziruk, stopping him by TKO8 in an impressive display. After knocking out the British warriors Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin, both in 11 rounds, he reclaimed the WBC belt by outclassing Julio Cesar Chavez jr, 15 September 2012. He made one successful defense this time in a hard fight against Martin Murray, winning by a close UD after getting dropped. It was clear that at 39, he was past his prime when he fought Miguel Cotto and lost to him by corner retirement in 9, after being down three times. That was in 2014 and is his so far last fight. He has recently announced the intention to return. His record is now 51 wins with 28 ko's, 3 losses and 2 draws. In reality, he is 53-2-1.

    5. Juan Martin Coggi

    I was a little torn choosing the no.5. But I think this guy deserves the spot. Coggi was the world champion three times and defeated some of the best fighters of his time, at 140. Coggi was also a very entertaining fighter with explosive style, speed and power. Known as "Latigo"-The Whip- he really did whip his opponents but also scored a few spectacular knockouts. Such as the one when he first became the champion, knocking out 48-0 Patrizio Oliva in 3 rounds for the WBA title in Italy in 1987. He made four defenses in his first reign, defeating guys like Harold Brazier, Akinobu Hiranaka and Jose Luis Ramirez, all by UD. He then lost in a great upset to Mexican underdog Loreto Garza, dropping a questionable majority decision in Nice, France, August 1990. He reclaimed the title, which had since changed hands several times, by stopping Morris East by TKO8 in January 1993. He would make seven defenses in this second reign, before losing the title to Frankie Randall by UD12 in a great war in September 1994. He managed to reclaim the title again when he was given a questionable technical decision in 5 in January 1996, but lost it again in the rubbermatch with Randall, by a close UD, in August that year. Coggi went up to welterweight later but his best days were past him and he ended his career by losing to Michele Piccirillo by UD. He was never stopped. He has won 75 fights, 44 by ko, lost 5 and drawn 2.

    6. Jorge Fernando Castro

    Famously known for his amazing come from behind ko of John David Jackson, then undefeated, "Locomotora" Castro had a great engine and good speed, despite his pudginess, and also possessed a great chin and ko power. He has only been stopped twice in 144 fights, both times above his best fighting weight of 160. Castro stands only 5'8 but has fought men a lot bigger than himself. He first got some exposure fighting Terry Norris for his WBC light middle title in December 1991, losing to the superior Norris on points. He then became the first man to go the distance against a young Roy Jones jr, losing in ten rounds on points in 1992. He finally made his mark when he edged out Reggie Johnson by SD to win the WBA middle title. In his second defense, 10 December 1994 in Monterrey, Mexico, he faced the 32-0 and very slick John David Jackson. Castro was outboxed and getting a beating when in round 9 he pulled off a left hook to put Jackson down and after two more knockdowns he got him out of there. He called it his Hand of God moment. After making two more successful defenses, again beating Reggie Johnson by SD, he lost the title to Shinji Takehara in Japan, getting dropped but making it to the final bell and losing by UD in December 1995. In 1997, he had two fights against Roberto Duran, winning the first and losing the second, both by UD10. In December 2000, he fought for the WBC cruiser title against the 6'4 Juan Carlos Gomez and was stopped for the first time in his career by TKO10. He also lost to Vassiliy Jirov on points in a bid to win the IBF cruiser title in 2002. His best victory in his latter years was a TKO7 over Derrick Harmon, in 2005. He retired after avenging a TKO4-loss to Jose Luis Herrera by TKO2, 27 January 2007. His record is an amazing 130 wins, 90 by ko, 11 losses and 3 draws. JFC was a very determined guy who early on in his career suffered an accident that could've ended his dreams, but he still made it. He is rightfully considered a national hero.

    7. Omar Andres Narvaez

    Nobody has more world title fights or defences altogether than this guy, no other Argentinian. Known as "El Huracan", The Hurricane, Narvaez first won the bronze medal at the 1997 world amateur championships, before turning pro in 2000. In 2002, he won the WBO flyweight title from Adonis Rivas by UD12 and defended it 16 times. He defeated guys like Luis Alberto Lazarte, Andrea Sarritzu, Brahim Asloum and Carlos Tamara and then vacated the title in 2010, after winning the WBO super flyweight one against Everth Briceno by UD. He made 11 defenses of that title, and in between he challenged Nonito Donaire, then the reigning WBC bantam champion, in October 2011, losing for the first time by lopsided scores in New York. He finally lost his title in brutal fashion to the new star and the terror of the division, Naoya Inoue, who demolished him in 2 rounds, 30 December 2014 in Japan. In 2018, he tried to win the WBO bantam title against the much taller Zolani Tete, but lost once again by lopsided scores in Belfast. On 21 December '19, Narvaez surprisingly dropped a split decision to 11-10-2 Pablo Ariel Gomez, showing that his best days are far behind him, at the age of 44. His record is 49 wins with 25 ko's, 4 losses and 2 draws.

    8. Julio Cesar Vasquez

    One of the longest-reigning world champions from Argentina, "El Zurdo" Vasquez reigned as the WBA light middle champion from 1992 to 1995, making 10 defenses. His best victories during this time were against Javier Castillejo (UD12), Aaron Davis (MD12), Ronald Wright (UD12) and Tony Marshall (UD12). He lost the title to Pernell Whitaker by UD but managed to knock Whitaker down once, on 4 March 1995. He then produced his best victory when he came from behind to knock out Carl Daniels in 11 rounds on 16 December that same year and with that he won back his old title. However, in his very first defense, he was knocked out in 5 by the excellent Laurent Boudouani, 21 August 1996 in France and that was the end of his prime. Vasquez challenged Robin Reid for the WBF super middle title in December 2001, but lost by UD. He continued fighting until 2009, but without much success. His record is therefore 68 wins with 43 ko's, 13 losses and 1 draw. Vasquez was fast and had power but was also very durable and patient.

    9. Santos Benigno Laciar

    A three-time world champion at flyweight and super flyweight, Laciar was known as "Falucho". He was a warrior like most other Argentinian fighters who hit hard and became more technically polished later on. He was only 21 when he captured his first world title, the WBA flyweight one, by stopping Peter Mathebula away in South Africa by TKO7, 28 March 1981. He then lost the title by a razor-thin decision to Luis Ibarra in his first defense. He again recaptured it by TKO13 against Juan Herrera in Mexico, 1 May 1982. He made 9 defenses this time before vacating it. He famously stopped the future IBF world champion Hi Sup Shin in 1 minute and 19 seconds in Shin's homeland South Korea, in one of his defenses. Another famous "victim" was Hilario Zapata, a hall of famer with 16 world title defenses altogether. Laciar beat him by UD15 in 1984. He then first challenged the WBC super fly champion Gilberto Roman in 1986, but the fight ended a draw. Next year they had a rematch and this time Laciar won by TKO11 after cutting Roman up so badly he couldn't continue. He however lost the title less than 3 months later to Sugar Baby Rojas, by a wide UD in Miami. In 1989, he had his last world title fight in a rubbermatch with Roman, and this time lost by UD. Laciar retired after losing his last fight at the tail end of 1990, a UD10 to Hugo Rafael Soto. His record is 79 wins with 31 ko's, 10 losses and 11 draws. He has never been stopped.

    10. Oscar Bonavena

    The best Argentine heavyweight never won a world title, but he fought for it once. Bonavena was short for a heavyweight at just under 5'11, but made up for it with his physical buff and strength, as well as true fighting ability. He could box and punch but was a natural brawler. Nicknamed "Ringo" for his trademark hairdo, he turned pro in 1964 and won 8 fights in New York before losing to Zora Folley by UD10. He was simply brought up too fast, Folley already had 79 fights under his belt. He returned to Argentina and then beat his national rival, Gregorio Peralta, by UD12 after decking him once. After beating George Chuvalo by MD10 in June '66, in September he fought Joe Frazier in a fight for the ages and decked him twice in the second round but Frazier came back to snatch a close split decision after 10 rounds. In September next year, Bonavena defeated Karl Mildenberger by UD12 after decking him four times, in what was the first stage of a WBA elimination tournament. He however lost to the slicker Jimmy Ellis in the second stage, being floored twice and losing on points after 12 rounds. After avenging the loss to Zora Folley by MD10, on 10 December '68 he fought Frazier again, this time with the world title at stake. This time, Frazier had done his lesson and he was dominant, but had to go the distance against the rugged Argentinian, winning by UD. Bonavena would get stopped for the first and only time by Muhammad Ali, who was on his comeback trail, 7 December '70 at Madison Square Garden. It was a competitive fight, but Bonavena tired and was dropped three times in the 15th and last round, which brought forth automatic stoppage. After also losing to aging Floyd Patterson on points, despite dropping him once and then breaking his hand, and later Ron Lyle, Bonavena's career was in tatters. He was amidst a comeback when he was tragically shot on 22 May 1976, by the bodyguards of a ranch owner with those wife he was having an affair. He was only 33 and thus ended his life violently, just like his compatriots Monzon and Galindez. His record is 58 wins, 44 by ko, 9 losses and 1 draw.

  • #2
    --- Yeah, Monzon clear #1, but he had a very physical relationship with his hot tempered wife, and in a tussle on a balcony, both plunged over the short railing that killed her and seriously injured him.

    I'd extrapolate they wuz bof drunk when it kicked off.

    You know the moral of that story!

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    • #3
      The list is done. Honorable mentions: Lucas Martin Mathysse, Juan Domingo Roldan, Sergio Victor Palma, Hugo Pastor Corro, Luis Angel Firpo, Pascual Perez (actually a HOFer).

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