Uncivil War: The Best Mexico vs. Mexico Rivalries in Boxing

mexican-fansPhoto: Stephanie Trapp / SHOWTIME

From SHOWTIME Boxing Analyst Steve Farhood
The all-Mexican Canelo-Alfredo Angulo rumble is among the most anticipated bouts of 2014. Given the styles of the fighters, it’s guaranteed to be an action fight.

There have been several classic Mexico vs. Mexico battles over the years. Here’s my top eight.

1. Rafael Marquez-Israel Vazquez (2007-2010): Battling intensely at junior featherweight and feather, they won twice each. Inarguably one of the best four-fight series in history.

2. Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales (2000-2004): A class struggle that got personal; Barrera grew up middle-class in the big city, while Morales was raised in the red-light district of Tijuana. Barrera won two of three very close fights, one at 122 pounds, one at 126, and one at 130. Each was memorable.

3. Ruben Olivares-Chucho Castillo (1970-1971): Olivares took two of three classic bantamweight title fights, all held at the Fabulous Forum in LA. To these rivals, the title of best 118-pounder in Mexico meant more than the world crown.

4. Carlos Zarate-Alfonso Zamora (1977): This is not a typo: Zarate was 38-0 with 37 kayos, Zamora was 29-0 with 29 kayos. Both were world bantamweight titlists. Zarate won in four predictably explosive rounds. It’s worth a watch on YouTube.

5. Juan Manuel Marquez-Marco Antonio Barrera (2007): Marquez finally broke through after the extended Mexican dominance of Barrera and Morales. JMM won by unanimous decision at junior lightweight.

6. Julio Cesar Chavez-Jose Luis Ramirez (1988): Chavez was 61-0 when these countrymen battled in a lightweight unification fight. One fight after Ramirez had edged Pernell Whitaker, “J.C. Superstar” defeated him by 11th-round technical decision.

7. Lupe Pintor-Carlos Zarate (1979): Pintor won the bantamweight title by unpopular decision, ending Zarate’s dominant reign. Zarate didn’t fight again for seven years.

8. Cristian Mijares-Jorge Arce (2007): Mijares kept the junior bantamweight title in a little-man showdown at the Alamodome. The win helped launch Mijares into the pound-for-pound top 10.

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