Mexico and Puerto Rico are set to resume hostilities on Saturday night when Danny “Swift” Garcia and Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios lock horns in a WBC Welterweight World Title Eliminator in Las Vegas. The rivalry between the two Latin American nations burns fiercely and it has seen some brutal clashes over the years. Warriors like Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad and Canelo Alvarez have been involved in thrilling fights, and the next chapter promises to be equally gripping. Make sure to review the best sportsbooks for latest odds on the fight and you will see that Garcia, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is the clear favorite, but Mexican American Rios is also a former world champion and packs a fierce punch, so it should be an intriguing fight.
Danny Garcia is expected to win and has been vocal about trying to secure a rematch with Keith Thurman who handed the Philly native his first professional loss in a close fight that saw Danny come on strong in the late rounds. Brandon, on the other hand, is being written off by most after losing a one-sided beating to the hands of Timothy Bradley and retiring after. One thing to note is Brandon looks to be in great shape, motivated, and out to prove everyone wrong. An upset can put him in the mix with the division’s top dogs. But this fight will have to be special to rival the greatest battles between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans over the years. Here are the top five:
1. Salvador Sanchez vs Wilfredo Gomez
The vicious rivalry between these nations’ boxing fans began back in 1981, when the savage super-bantamweight Gomez, of Puerto Rico, stepped up to featherweight to challenge champion Sanchez in what is now known as The Battle of the Little Giants. “Standing or dead, but never on my knees,” declared Gomez, sending Mexican fans into a patriotic fervour as they roared that their champion could indeed beat Gomez on his knees. Both fighters continued to fan the flames of patriotism in the build-up to the fight, which gained huge global exposure. It began at a blistering pace and saw the unbeaten Gomez floored in the first round, but he displayed tremendous resilience to return to his feet and take the fight to Sanchez. However, in the end, Sanchez was too strong and too classy to handle, and Gomez ended up in precisely the position he sought to avoid, on his knees and bleeding after suffering a brutal knockout.
2. Felix Trinidad vs Fernando Vargas
This was one of the most epic slugfests in memory, pitting one of Puerto Rico’s best fighters against a real warrior in Vargas. Trinidad dropped him twice in the opening round and seemed to be cruising to a comfortable victory, but Vargas fought back with astonishing heart. In the fourth, he had Trinidad on the canvas and the pendulum had swung firmly back towards the Mexican. It descended into sheer carnage from that point, but Trinidad ultimately came out on top in the 12th, when he floored Vargas three times before referee Jay Nady stepped in.
3. Jose Luis Ramirez vs Edwin Rosario
Puerto Rico’s Rosario beat Ramirez to the vacant WBC world lightweight title in 1983 and it was an enthralling fight, but the rematch was even better. Ramirez went down in the first and second rounds and looked set for another punishing defeat, but Ramirez was undeterred and launched a magnificent turnaround in the third as he stunned the Puerto Rican with a tremendous right. Ramirez then slugged his way to an impressive fourth round victory after dishing out plenty of punishment to his floundering opponent.
4. Julio Cesar Chavez vs Edwin Rosario
Rosario returned to represent his country a few years and promised to send Chavez back to Mexico in a coffin. The pair almost came to blows at a testy press conference, but when it came down to business, Rosario fared even worse than he had against Ramirez as Chavez absolutely battered him. The Mexican built up a healthy point lead over 11 rounds before hammering him in the corner midway through the 11th round, causing Rosario’s corner to throw in the towel. It was Julio Cesar Chavez’s 56th straight win and second world title.
5. Canelo Alvarez vs Miguel Cotto
Alvarez and the great Cotto delivered a pulsating fight that had the crowd cheering incessantly at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas in 2015. Cotto was 35 by that point and delivered a heroic performance, but the judges unanimously went for Alvarez, who used brute strength to battle to a world title he still holds. The Mexican has gone on to become the world’s top-rated pound for pound boxer, but nobody gave him more problems than Cotto.
For more on the Danny Garcia vs Brandon Rios fight and co-main event between
WBC Super Middleweight Champion David Benavidez vs Ronald Gavril, check out On The Ropes
Article written by Kevin Howard.