The one constant in boxing is that you can always count on a steady stream of quality fighters coming from Mexico. A healthy sign for the boxing scene south of the botder is that many of the old pros from the Aztec Nation are slowly being replaced by 20-something stars like Chavez Jr., Canelo Alvarez, and Abner Mares.
In honor of Mexican Independence Day, September 15, here's a look at Mexico's current pound-for-pound Top 10:
1. Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs)
Even at 39 years of age, Marquez is still one of the sport's very best and one of it's top 3 counter-punchers. Of his six losses, three were of the controversial variety (Chris John and, twice, against Manny Pacquiao) and one was a catchweight farce against Floyd Mayweather.
2. Orlando Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs)
"Siri" twice stopped Juan Manuel Lopez and gave Yuriorkis Gamboa one of his toughest bouts. The old school, blue collar battler is a two-time featherweight champ and reigning top dog of the division.
3. Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KOs)
Once thought to be on the way out the door, Gonzalez took the main stage once again with a TKO 4 victory over Hozumi Hasegawa to nab the WBC version of the featherweight title in April of 2011. Since then, Gonzalez has defended the title four times against overall solid opposition, winning three of four by stoppage inside of four rounds.
4. Abner Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs)
The 26-year-old native of Guadalajara earned his spot as an elite at bantamweight before moving up to junior featherweight to capture a vacant world title. Now a two-division world champ, Mares is slowly moving up the pound for pound ranks and angling towards a major showdown down the line with either Nonito Donaire or Guillermo Rigondeaux.
5. Saul Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs)
22-years-old and developing as a legitimate world class talent, many have criticized his level of opposition as a defending world titlist. Nevertheless, "Canelo" is coming along fine as a fighter and, by all indications, is ready to up the level of his competition by the end of this year or early 2013.
6. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-0-1, 32 KOs)
The second generation star has slowly transformed himself from walking punchline to legitimate Number two guy at middleweight. Depending on what happens against Sergio Martinez this Saturday, Chavez Jr. could find himself ranked much higher on this list the next time it's compiled.
7. Hernan Marquez (34-2, 25 KOs)
WBA flyweight champ, "Tyson" Marquez is the top dog at flyweight-- a fact that will soon be challenged by WBO titlist, Brian Viloria in a scheduled showdown later this year.
8. Carlos Molina (20-5-2, 6 KOs)
Molina is the fighter who can't seem to get a break from boxing politics and general ineptitude. He was on his way to a solid decision win over James Kirkland in March when he found himself disqualified on a technicality (his corner man stepped into the ring after Molina was knocked down in the tenth round, but before the bell officially sounded to end the round). In 2011, a win over Erislandy Lara was scored a draw and, earlier in his career, an apparent upset of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in late 2005 was scored as a disappointing draw.
9. Antonio DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KOs)
DeMarco looked sharp in dismantling John Molina in just 44 seconds and, prior to that, earned his Mexican fighter credentials in a gritty come-from-behind victory over Jorge Linares.
10. Miguel Vazquez (31-3, 13 KOs)
Breaking the mold of the stereotypical Mexican fighter, Vazquez is smooth, smart, and stylish in the ring. More boxer than brawler, fan appreciation has been slow in building, but after three successful defenses of his IBF lightweight title, "Titere" is starting to make a name for himself among hardcore fans.
Honorable Mention: Juan Carlos Salgado, Edgar Sosa, Leo Santa Cruz, Erik Morales, Juan Carlos Burgos, Jorge Arce, Victor Terrazas, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Cristian Mijares, Alfredo Angulo, Mario Rodriguez, Hugo Cazares, Humberto Soto, Fernando Montiel, Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio.
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.
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