Back in the 80's and early 90's, Julio Cesar Chavez was the man and he carried the weight of the entire Aztec Nation on his shoulders. If there had been an internet, there's little doubt that he would've been every bit the star Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather are in this cyber era.
Chavez was the face of Mexican boxing, having been elevated to near-deity status by over 100 million Mexicans and tens of millions of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans in the United States. In his wake, the Hall of Fame legend inspired a resurgence in Mexican boxing that inspired stars such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Rafael Marquez, and Israel Vazquez to take to the ring.
Now, in 2012, there's not that one, prominent figure in Mexican boxing, but there are several solid stars starting to emerge and create a legitimate scene that could very well carry the sport for the next several years. With them, Mexican-American fighters are beginning to assume top spots and draw fan interest as well.
Of course, at the forefront of this Aztec Effect are fighters Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and, even in defeat, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Together, the two 20-something Mexican stars packed in close to 30,000 fans in separate Las Vegas events last Saturday. On Showtime Championship Boxing, Alvarez broke viewership records by bringing in 1.036 million viewers. Meanwhile, on pay-per-view, Chavez Jr. is expected to surpass 500,000 buys for his bout with Sergio Martinez. Back in their home country, the two competing bouts registered an astounding combined share of 70.8, which translates to about 34.3 million viewers during Mexican Independence Day festivities.
After the two Mexican cash cows, established stars such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Jorge Arce, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and Jhonny Gonzalez are still actively drawing fans, but the real hidden treasures are the other young stars just waiting to fight their way to the top.
Abner Mares, Antonio DeMarco, Leo Santa Cruz, Carlos Molina, and Hernan Marquez lead the wave of 20-something talent on the rise. All are talented, entertaining, and perhaps most importantly, have plenty of quality opposition upon which to build their careers.
Back in the United Stated, Mexican-American battlers such as Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, Victor Ortiz, Chris Arreola, and a whole slew of junior welterweight prospects are slowly moving up the ranks and starting to become legitimate draws.
At a time when the country is producing fewer and fewer true stars, the influx of talent from Mexico is a welcomed development. Boxing has become a part of Mexico's national identity and is starting to bring that passion to the U.S. fight scene. This can only result in positive results for the sport we love.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Kevin Iole, Gate numbers, TV ratings for Canelo Alvarez confirm big boxing weekend, Yahoo! Sports
- Sports & Recreation
- Julio Cesar Chavez
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Manny Pacquiao
- Marco Antonio Barrera
- Floyd Mayweather