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10 of the best Puerto Rican fighters of all time

Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus
From Gomez to Benitez and Trinidad to Cotto, the small Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has produced some of boxing's most thrilling and popular fighters

1. Wilfredo Gomez

Gomez beat Dong Kyun Yum by 12th round stoppage in 1977 to become WBC super-bantamweight champion and made 13 successful defences of the belt before moving to featherweight to fight Salvador Sanchez in 1981. After losing to Sanchez, he returned to super-bantam, made four more defences and then beat Juan LaPorte to win the WBC featherweight crown.

2. Carlos Ortiz

In 1959, Ortiz conquered Kenny Lane to take the junior-welterweight world title and had a three-fight series with Duilio Loi. By 1962, he was a world champion at lightweight, the division in which he made his name, and boasted wins against Ismael Laguna, Sugar Ramos and Flash Elorde.

3. Wilfred Benitez

Benitez was famously just 17 years of age when he outpointed Antonio Cervantes to win the WBC super-lightweight title in 1976. Three years later, he beat Carlos Palomino to become a WBC champion at welterweight and, in ’81, won the title at super-welterweight, too. 

wilfred benitez
Wilfred Benitez, defensive genius

4. Felix Trinidad

‘Tito’ Trinidad knocked out Maurice Blocker in just two rounds to become the IBF welterweight champion in 1993 and defended it 14 times before unifying it against WBC king Oscar De La Hoya in ’99. World titles at super-welterweight and middleweight were to follow.

5. Miguel Cotto

As popular as any Puerto Rican fighter in recent memory, Cotto nabbed his WBO super-lightweight title, a belt he defended six times, against Kelson Pinto in 2004. He then became a WBA champion at welterweight in 2006 and a WBA champion at super-welterweight in 2010. Finally, in 2014, Cotto beat Sergio Martinez to become a world champion at middleweight.

Everybody loves Miguel Cotto (Naoki Fukuda)

6. Wilfredo Vazquez

Though he lost his first world title shot in 1986, Vazquez became WBA bantamweight champion the following year with a 10th-round stoppage of Chan Young Park. He added the WBA super-bantamweight title in 1992, a belt he defended nine times, and won the featherweight version in ’96.

7. Hector Camacho

A 1983 win over Rafael Limon landed Camacho the WBC super-featherweight belt and two years later he outboxed Jose Luis Ramirez to grab that organisation’s lightweight crown. By 1989 he had also beaten Ray Mancini to become the WBO champion at junior-welterweight.

Hector Camacho
The original Magic Man (Action Images)

8. Jose Torres

In 1965, Torres stopped Willie Pastrano between rounds nine and 10 to become WBA and WBC light-heavyweight champion. He would defend those two belts three times before losing to Dick Tiger in ’66.

9. Pedro Montanez

In a 103-fight pro career, Montanez travelled all over the world and rebounded from some early losses to fight Lou Ambers for the world lightweight title in 1939. That ended in a contentious defeat for Montanez and the next time he fought for a world title, in 1940, he met the great Henry Armstrong at welterweight.

10. Edwin Rosario

Rosario edged Jose Luis Ramirez to become WBC lightweight champion in 1983 but lost a rematch against the Mexican the following year. ‘Chapo’ was champion again, though, in 1986, when beating Livingstone Bramble for the WBA belt.

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