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Oscar Larios-Chololo

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This guy really must be one of the least talked about former multiple world champions ever. Larios won the WBC titles at 122 and 126 and defeated guys like Israel Vazquez, Wayne McCullough (twice), Nedal Hussein, Takahiro Ao, Willie Jorrin and Cesar Soto and has also fought Manny Pacquiao and stunned him once, going the distance with Pacman. He was also the first guy to stop McCullough, one of the toughest boxers ever. Larios was a tall fighter for those divisions at 5'7 (170 cm) and also had a rather big reach of 69' 1/2 (177 cm), he could hit pretty well, was a good technical fighter as well but also aggressive and a brawler, like most Mexicans. In his prime, he was very hard to beat. He experienced a couple of losses early on before developing into a world class fighter, with the unusual nickname "Chololo", meaning "buddy". It has actually nothing to do with the racial term "Cholo", used for Mestizos (half-Indigenous half-Spanish people). Ok, here we go.


Oscar Larios (it seems this is indeed his full name!) was born in Zapopan, Jalisco state, Mexico, on 1 November 1976. He boxed out of Guadalajara, the capital of the state and second largest city in Mexico. His trainer was Jose "Chepo" Reynoso. Like most other Mexican fighters, he started out as a pro early, aged 17. He started out as a super flyweight and had his first fight on 14 January 1994, winning by a KO1 against David Garcia. He gradually grew into a super bantam, which would become the division where he would carve out his greatness. In November '96, he won the Sinaloa state title at SB, by a TKO2 against Jose Rodriguez. After going 20-0, he was then matched against Israel Vazquez, who was then 11-1. Vazquez was a very hard puncher however, which Larios would experience, as they fought 12 April '97. Larios was first put down by a left hook but he got up quickly and started throwing. He landed some good punches on the shorter Vazquez, with his superior reach and it looked like he was turning the fight around when Vazquez hit him with a left right which put him down and out, shortly before the 2-minute mark. It was a devastating loss, but Larios picked himself up and vowed revenge. He defended his Sinaloa State title once, also by a TKO2, before vacating it. After winning some more fights, on 23 October '98 he was matched against Agapito Sanchez, who was also shorter at 5'4 but a very good and aggressive and fast fighter. The title on the line was the WBO Intercontinental one. However, after 5 rounds, the fight had to be stopped prematurely after Larios sustained a bad cut over his left eye-the result a TKO5-loss for Larios. He won the Mexican title in his next fight, stopping Javier Calderon by TKO2. He defended it 8 times, no less. On 24 June '00, he faced Oscar Soto in a WBC-eliminator and won by UD12 after a hardy, competitive fight. He could now challenge for the WBC title against champion Willie Jorrin from Sacramento, CA. The fight however was in his opponent's hometown, 19 January '01, and after 12 rounds, it looked like Larios had done enough to win, but all 3 judges had the champion ahead 115-113. And so-Chololo had to start allover again.


Later that year, he won the WBC Fecarbox and WBA Fedecentro titles by decisioning Angel Chacon of Puerto Rico. And then, finally, he was given an opportunity to avenge his first loss when he took on Israel Vazquez again on 17 May '02, again in Sacramento. This time, it would prove a lucky place for Larios, as he dominated most of the fight and then in the 12th round sent Vazquez down twice to stop him by a TKO. A right cross behind the ear set Vazquez up for the knockdowns, which were both done by rights to the head. He didn't just get revenge, but he also won the interim WBC title! He made one defense of this title by going to Japan and stopping Manabu Fukushima by a TKO8, before getting a rematch with Jorrin with his full title on the line. The fight was again at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, 1 November '02, and this time there would be no bad decisions, as Larios flew at Jorrin from the start and sent him down three times before the fight was over at 1:28 of the first round. Even sweeter kind of revenge it was. Even sweeter was the fact that Jorrin was undefeated in 29 fights. On top of it all-it was his 26th birthday! Thus began one of the best championships reigns in the history of the division and Larios would go on to make 7 defenses as the full champion. First he beat Shigeru Nakazato by UD in Japan, then he again fought Kozo Ishii in Japan and easily beat him by a TKO2, before going back to Los Angeles and stopping the Thai Namchi Saru by a TKO10. He then once again beat Nakazato by another UD in Japan to open 2004. He had 2 non-title fights in between before again defending against Nedal Hussein, who had previously knocked down Manny Pacquiao, and again winning by a UD, at MGM Grand on 27 November. Hussein was 36-1, that sole loss coming against Pacman. In 2005, he had two fights against Wayne McCullough, the famous toughman who had never been stopped. In the first one, Larios outboxed the faded McCullough and won by wide scores and in the second one, he beat him up so badly that the fight was stopped following the tenth round. That would be the final successful defense of Larios, as he lost his title on 3 December that year in a rubbermatch against Israel "Magnifico" Vazquez; Larios was down once in the first round but got up at the count of three and came back to win the second round. In the third, he developed a bad cut over his left eye as a result of a punch and after a doctor's inspection, the referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight, with only 8 seconds remaining of the round. It was the most unfortunate way to lose your title.


But that would not be the end of world championship glory for Larios! In his next fight on 2 July 2006, he fought the dreaded Pacquiao himself in Quezon City, Philippines. The fight was at 130 pounds and Pacman was already a natural super feather, but Larios managed to stun him in the third round with a right hand. He was however dropped in the seventh and twelfth round and lost by wide scores-perhaps a bit too wide. He then decided to campaign as a featherweight, seeing super featherweight was not that well suited for him. After winning 3 easy fights, he was given a chance to win the vacant WBC feather title against the new "boy wonder", the 21-yearold Venezuelan Jorge Linares. The fight took place on 21 July '07 at Mandalay Bay and Larios was definitely competitive, but Linares landed the sharper punches. After 9 rounds, one judge had Larios ahead by a point but the other two had Linares firmly ahead, one by 7 points. Linares then upped the ante and sent Larios down with a flurry of punches. Larios got up but was waved off by the referee. It seemed his career was over now, after 13 years as a prizefighter. Even worse, shortly after the aforementioned fight, a brain scan showed he had a subdural hematoma-a blood cloth inside the brain. He was therefore suspended from fighting in the States, but still continued fighting in Mexico and Japan. In May 2008 he won the interim WBC title by a TKO5 over Feider Viloria and defended it by a KO7 over Marlon Aguilar. He then received his last world title shot against the reigning WBC-champion Takahiro Ao of Japan. Naturally, he had to go over there and fought Ao 16 October same year, defying all expectations; despite being down once in the fourth round, he came back to win enough rounds to get a split decision and thus-he was a two-time, two-weight world champion! If you count the interim titles, then it was his fourth. Of course, him becoming a world champion raised controversy in the States and boxing world in general, since he was still under medical suspension. He gave Ao a rematch with the title at stake on 12 March '09, in Korakuen Hall, Japan. This would be his final fight, as he was down once in round 12 and lost by mostly lopsided scores to the younger Ao.


"Chololo" finally retired at the age of 32, having fought for 15 years non-stop. His record is an impressive 63 wins, 39 by ko, 7 losses, 4 by ko, and 1 draw. His daughter Yareli Larios is now a professional boxer, with a record of 14-2-1. She continued her father's tradition by using the alias "Chololita". Oscar Larios was a guy who gave it all in the ring and was fun to watch with his lanky (for those divisions) build, throwing a lot and willingly taking a lot as well. He was really unfortunate to lose his first world title due to a cut, but hey, that's boxing for ya. I wonder why he isn't more famous, because he had a very good career and faced some of the best fighters in the world, also beating a few of them. I hope you enjoyed this presentation.

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