The following e-mail comes from Arturo Ibañez of Chicago, Illinois…
“I have been following your writings for several years now and through your many reincarnations. I do not agree with everything you say. I do respect your opinion. You have been going at this boxing writing thing for more years than most Johnny Come Latelys.
Who do you think are the best three Latino boxers in the world? Right now and in order.”
Arturo, first and foremost, I appreciate your e-mail and readership through the years. If anyone else wants to send me an e-mail, you can reach me at [email protected]
Your questions seems innocent enough, but it can become quite a heated discussion. In an digital age, where the average attention span is about two and a half minutes, most observers would likely argue that Sergio Martinez is the best fighter in the world to have been born in a Latin American country.
Martinez’s 2010 was an impressive one. The middleweight from Argentina defeated American Kelly Pavilk and scored a memorable second round knockout on Paul Williams.
During the last two years, Martinez has faced top opposition and been successful in impressing fans and experts- even when losing on a scorecard against Paul Williams in their first fight, or seeing a duel with Kermit Cintron end in a majority draw.
That being said, I have Sergio Martinez as the SECOND best fighter from Latin America, right now.
My first pick goes to Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez.
In 2010, Marquez defeated Juan Diaz in a rematch of their 2009 Fight of the Year, and knocked out Michael Katsidis. Though not as good of a year as Martinez’s on paper, if you take Marquez’s skill set into consideration and his overall resume, he out shines the talented middleweight.
Marquez, at 37 years of age has shown some deterioration in his speed and defense. Yet, he is still a tough nut to crack. Since age 35, a very old age for a man best known as a featherweight, Grand Pa’ Marquez has a record of five wins and two losses with four knock-outs. His only defeats are at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Junior, where Marquez gave up a four pound advantage to arguably the best fighters in the world, and Manny Pacquiao – in a fight many felt Marquez one.
His demise might come soon, but until Marquez is clearly beat, he is the best Latino fighter in the world.
So if Marquez is number one, and Martinez is number two, who is number three?
There are a lot of horses in this race, including Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, and Mexican’s Fernando Montiel and Giovanni Segura. My nod goes to a rising star from Puerto Rico, featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez.
Lopez’s legacy is still in the making. A fine fighter with a seemingly unstable chin, but with enough punching power to put anyone on their back heel.
At 27 years of age, once Marquez and Martinez retire, Lopez could easily dominate the Latino fight world for years to come – if and only if, he can defeat Cuban upstart Yuriorkis Gamboa in an highly anticipated fight during 2011