PR vs Mexico Wars

Photo by Al Applerose

Puerto Rican vs Mexican Wars Continue

By David A. Avila

Die hard fight fans know the most intense bloody rivalry for the past 50 years has been prizefighters of Puerto Rican descent versus those of Mexican descent.

The violent history between those two nationalities has brought us Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez, Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez against Edwin Rosario to name a few. The winners were treated like conquering heroes.

Three prizefighters of Mexican descent recently squared off against three Puerto Ricans in downtown L.A. Mexico’s Marvin Quintero was clearly losing to the quicker and taller Jeffrey Fontanez for four consecutive rounds. Then, suddenly a left cross came booming from seemingly nowhere and deposited Fontanez to the floor.

Two other fighters of Mexican descent also defeated two Puerto Ricans last Friday night in L.A. Carlos Morales dominated his opponent O’Nell Negron, but Oscar Duarte needed a knockout to rally from defeat against Alejandro Salinas.

Mexican fighters were victorious last week, but the biggest battle of all takes place in two months when Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1, 32 Kos) tangles with Puerto Rico’s best fighter Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 Kos). Their middleweight world title fight takes place on Nov. 21 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Cotto and Alvarez are both training in Southern California. Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing gym is home base for Cotto who is guided by Freddie Roach. Alvarez chose San Diego where his team headed by Chepo Reynoso already is in training for the big showdown.

The tally between Puerto Ricans and Mexicans over the years remains very tight with island fighters winning 55 world title fights and Mexicans taking 47. Lately, Mexicans have boasted a winning streak with fighters like Moreno Valley’s Mikey Garcia adding to Mexico’s winning side.

Cotto and Alvarez pose one of three pending match ups that could result in the “fight of the year.” Other candidates coming are Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse and Russia’s Viktor Postal on Oct. 3 at the StubHub for the junior welterweight title. WBA middleweight titlist Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s match with Canada’s David Lemieux on Oct. 17 in New York City is the third potential candidate for “Fight of the Year.”

Mexico’s Alvarez knows the history between the two nationalities very well and never fails to acknowledge it.

“Obviously there’s a great history between Mexico and Puerto Rico and it’s going to be another one for the history books,” said Alvarez about his pending fight while in L.A. recently. “I feel a lot of honor representing my country.”

Cotto knows the magnitude of the rivalry between the two nationalities. He calls Mexico’s Salvador Sanchez knockout victory over fellow countryman Wilfredo Gomez in August 1981 the most vivid.

“People know when you see a Puerto Rican against a Mexican you’re going to see a great fight,” said Cotto. “I don’t care who it is. You are going to see a great fight.”

All three upcoming title fights are expected to surpass in intensity and action the mega flop between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao last May. Though that fight broke all records for pay-per-views, it failed badly in meeting expectations from fans.

“Fighting is supposed to be about entertainment,” said Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. “That fight was not entertaining.”