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Forgotten Champions: Marcos Villasana


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In Britain mostly known for his two title fights against Paul Hodkinson, first which he won and second which he lost, Villasana reigned as the WBC feather champion between 1990 and 1991. Before that, he had two fights against Azumah Nelson, of which the first one was close and tough, losing it by a majority decision. Villasana was a hard-hitting and quality fighter, action fighter, like most Mexican boxers. He also got unlucky a couple times, once when he lost an early fight he was winning and once when a point deduction cost him the victory in a world title fight.

Born 11 June 1960 in Guerrero, Mexico, Villasana stood 5'4 (163 cm) and fought from orthodox stance. He began his pro career before turning 18, in January 1978. His first 17 wins came by ko, showing he had real power in his fists. After going 17-0-1, he lost for the first time fighting Artemio Ramirez in July 1979, after getting injured and having to quit in the 7th round. He also lost the next fight, on points this time, against Ambrosio Luna. He fought at bantamweight early on, before becoming a featherweight. After winning 13 more fights, he won the Mexican feather title in December 1981, on points against Justo Garcia. He defended it once by KO8, but then he fought the Colombian future world title challenger Mario Miranda , away in Cartagena, Colombia, 19 June '82 and after dominating the fight, in the 8th round he suffered a bad cut over his eye and had to quit, thus unfortunately losing by TKO. 

After defending the Mexican title 6 more times, he got a fight against WBC-champion Azumah Nelson, on 25 February '86 at the Forum in Inglewood, LA. The Mexican underdog gave the Ghanaian star a tougher fight than expected and one judge had it even, but the other two favoured Nelson and thus, Villasana lost by MD. Because of the closeness of the bout, Nelson gave him a rematch on 29 August next year, this time at the Olympic Auditorium, also in LA. This time, Nelson was more dominant and won by a clear UD. On 23 June '88, Villasana again landed a world title fight, this time against the WBA-champion, the Venezuelan Antonio Esparragoza, at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. He got a point deducted for a low blow in round 5 and that wound up costing him the victory, as the fight was judged to be a split draw, but without that one point taken away, it would've been a split decision victory for Villasana. 

It didn't get any better in his next world title fight, when he took on the new WBC-champion, Jeff Fenech (who became that because Nelson vacated the belt to move up), 8 April '90 at the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne. Fenech was too fast for him and clearly won on all scorecards, but broke both his hands during the fight! Finally, Villasana would get lucky in his fifth world title attempt, when he went to Manchester, England, to fight the Liverpool-native Paul Hodkinson for the WBC title, which had once again been left vacant as Fenech moved up to 130 as well. It was on 2 June at the G-Mex Centre and Villasana won by TKO8 after Hodkinson, ahead on all cards, had to retire because he could not see due to swelling around both eyes. Villasana took the title home to Mexico and defended it three times, first stopping Javier Marquez by TKO8, then stopping undefeated Rafael Zuniga by TKO6 and finally decisioning also-unbeaten Ricardo Cepeda, in Marbella, Spain.

For his fourth defence, he went to Belfast, 13 November '91, where he lost the title in a rematch with Hodkinson, by UD, a wide one. This was the end of his career in the real sense and he had only one more fight in 1993, fighting at 130 against Javier Lucas and winning by TKO5, before hanging up the gloves. His record is 55(47)-8-3. His son Marcos jr now fights as a lightweight and has won the WBC Latino title there. Marcos Villasana sr was a world class fighter who hit hard and was very determined and this determination obviously made him succeed in the end, on his fifth attempt. He was just unlucky to have to fight against amazing boxers like Azumah Nelson and Jeff Fenech. Also, since he won the world title so late in his career, his reign could never last too long. Thank you.


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