Garcia vs Rios: Culture Clash Between Puerto Rico And Mexico

For 30 years, the war in the ring between Mexican and Puerto Rican boxers has roiled on as one of the greatest rivalries in boxing. With Danny Garcia returning to action against Brandon Rios, a millennial’s shootout might get underway this weekend in Sin City.  However, the bankable boxing rivalry of these two countries had its true start on Aug. 21, 1981, when Wilfredo Gomez, a devastating bantamweight champion, moved up to featherweight to challenge Salvador Sanchez.

Even though Gomez had faced undefeated puncher Carlos Zarate in 1978 in Puerto Rico in the fight many still consider to be the most significant in Puerto Rico’s history, Gomez and Sanchez’s fight, held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, exceeded it in global exposure and cemented the patriotic fervor on both sides. It was also the first great boxing victory for Mexico over Puerto Rico. 

 Wilfredo Gomez had held the WBC 122-pound title for more than four years and was undefeated at 32-0-1. Salvador Sanchez (40-1-1 30 KO) had already developed a reputation as a big-fight type of boxer that would show up when the pressure is greatest. Still, Gomez entered as the betting favorite.

Wilfredo Gomez vs Carlos Zarate full fight HD

Wilfredo Gomez vs Carlos Zarate was fight for WBC Super bantamweight title. Held on October 28.1978. at Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Sanchez set the tone early, dropping Gomez with a beautiful combination midway through the first round. He rebounded in the next few rounds and was much more competitive, but Sanchez systematically rearranged his facial features. The seventh round between these two was one of the best in boxing history, with both men landing devastating shots. Finally, in Round 8, Gomez succumbed and was dropped by a vicious seven-punch combination. 

Despite his face and eyes being an absolute mess, he rose by the count of eight,  but the referee stepped in, ending the punishment. It was one of the most brutal fights in the history of boxing.

Wilfredo Gomez vs Lupe PintorFull Fight

1982-12-03 WBC super bantamweight title

Gomez would have a third notable war with a Mexican challenger in Lupe Pinto. Gomez started the fight strong, and by the start of the third round it appeared he would cruise to a dominant victory. Pintor, however, made a strong comeback in Round 3, as the two exchanged huge combinations. Their third round would be named by The Ring Magazine as 1982’s Round of the Year. 

Enter Julio Cesar Chavez, the biggest and boldest of the Mexican fighters. On September 12, 1992 Chavez defended his WBC title against the WBO junior welterweight champion from Puerto Rico, Hector “Macho” Camacho. Chavez entered the ring undefeated at 81-0, while Camacho was 41-1 and held notable victories over Greg Haugen, Vinny Pazienza and Ray Mancini. 

Chavez was simply too dominant on this night, punishing Camacho to the body early and winning every round on one judge’s card, winning by scores of 120-107, 119-110 and 117-111. 

2008-07-26 Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto I

2008-07-26 Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto I facebook

Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito’s two fights will also go down in history as one of the more controversial matchups in history. Margarito’s stunning and brutal 11th-round TKO of Miguel Cotto in 2008 is one of the most controversial fights in boxing history. It has since been called into question, after Margarito was found to have loaded hand wraps heading into a fight with Shane Mosley.     

So when the two rematched three years later, for Cotto it was pure revenge. He badly hurt Margarito’s previously injured eye, swelling it nearly shut and forcing the doctor to advise referee Steve Smoger to halt the contest after the ninth round.

Classic Boxing: Cotto vs. Margarito 2 2011 (HBO Boxing)

Subscribe to the HBO Sports YouTube: In a much anticipated rematch, Miguel Cotto dismantled Antonio Margarito, avenging an earlier loss with a 9th round TKO. Cotto vs. Martinez happens Sat., June 7 live on pay-per-view at 9pm ET/6pm PT. HBO Sports Official Site: HBO Sports on HBO GO

This weekend Danny Garcia takes his first fight since losing his undefeated status against Keith Thurman last year and is badly looking for a win. For Rios, who got back in the win column against Aaron Herrera last year and is looking to get back in title contention, the fight has all the makings of a potential war. 

WATCH-Driven: Danny Garcia

Driven: Danny Garcia Pt. 1

With boxing politics being what they are, it is a rare treat that these fighters will have actually the opportunity to compete against each other. With the fight being in Las Vegas there is bound to be an overwhelming Mexican turnout from Rios’ California home base and Garcia will be fighting with the chip on his shoulder that only a former undefeated world champion can have. Hopefully, it will be the makings of a continuation of the biggest rivalry in combat sports. 

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