Cabo’s Boxing History

BY: FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ

While it's common knowledge in Mexico that soccer is the nation's #1 sport; boxing remains the country's 2nd most popular physically challenging activity of live or televised entertainment. The first professional Mexican boxer was Miguel Ángel Febles, who would fight in a different town every night in 1915 and was a world champion in four different weight categories. Afterwards, Miguel Ángel Febles became a promoter and started to set up professional fights across the country for money. In 1932, at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, Francisco Cabañas Pardo won Mexico's first Olympic medal in boxing.

During the 1930s, boxing experienced its first Golden Age of boxing Mexico, especially in Mexico City. Much of the sport glamorized in film. The 1980s became the second Golden Age for boxing in Mexico, which featured such stars as star Julio César Chávez, whose career; which included an 87-fight winning streak from 1980-2005, earning him the title as Mexico’s greatest boxer of all-time.

The “Mexican style” of boxing is often associated with lots of offensive moves and punches with little care for defense. Aficionados call this the best type of boxing to watch because of the constant action. Salvador Sánchez was the WBC featherweight champion from 1980 to 1982 and many believe, had he not died in a tragic car accident, he would have been the best featherweight boxer of all time. Juan Manuel Márquez who fought in the 1990s and 2000s was a world champion in four different weight categories and now works as a television boxing analyst.

 The first Mexican boxing commission was created in 1921. Mexico has since given birth to 204 world champions, that’s more than any country worldwide. The sport has a long and glorious history in Mexico. Amateur boxing in Mexico first began around 1918, in Tampico and other port cities along the Gulf of Mexico, where seafaring mariners would set up make-shift boxing rings, marked by four chairs, at the local bordellos whenever they spent their time ashore. The earliest evidence of boxing dates back to Egypt around 3,000 BC. The ancient Greeks believed fist fighting was one of the games played by the gods on Olympus; thus it became part of the Olympic Games in about 688 BC.

In Cabo San Lucas, there are several gyms devoted to teaching and training young fighters who dream of obtaining amateur boxing success and someday turning pro and earning good money to provide for themselves and their families. Israel Gonzalez, is a ranked Super Flyweight boxer. He is a former WBC Super Flyweight (115 lbs) Champion and current IBF #10 Super Flyweight. Gonzalez, whose professional boxing nickname is, "Jiga," was born in Cabo San Lucas, and has accumulated a win-loss record in the ring of 23-3, with his most recent and famous bout being the February 2, 2018, knockout loss he suffered in Corpus Christie, Texas against Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines. Ancajas has been touted as the new Manny Paquaio of his country.

Aside from the money and boxing prestige, Israel Gonzalez has shown young Cabo children the potential of traveling the country fighting in such places as Monterrey, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Torreon, Tlalnepantla, and Hermosillo; as well as Monte Carlo across the Atlantic Ocean. The Delegacion Deportivo Sports Complex is the city's boxing mecca, where young and impoverished Cabo San Lucas kids, train every day at the small tan-colored building which is next to the blue-colored tartan all-weather track. There is no fee to train there and their boxing instructor trainer has years of experience working to make them better.

At the 2019 Mexico National Amateur Boxing Championship Tournament, held in November, Baja California Sur was well represented by Edgar Eden Palacios and Diego DeJesus Moreno.

"I think it's great that the boxing federation of Mexico continues its dedication to the education of children and young people in helping them learn discipline first and success through hard work," said Diego Ramos Urquidez.

The boxing community in Cabo has been fortunate over the years to see local amateur fights at the small bull riding ring near Walmart, in the sand at Medano Beach, and professional bouts at the municipal baseball stadium of Delegacion. And in this day and age, boxing is far more than just a boy's sport as more and more young ladies are entering the ring, following their own dreams of reaching that high-paying big cash purse that a professional championship bout offers. Northern Baja California for example currently has six young women vying to win a national championship medal that includes Crisna Alvarez, Eunice Josabet Campos, sisters Roxana Ortiz and Vanessa Ortiz, Jennifer Martin, and Alejandra Palacios.

The two other great boxing legends of Baja California Sur were the Capitol city of La Paz-born and raised Raul Hirales Jr. and Ramiro Reducindo. The featherweight Hirales accumulated a record of 22-6-1 with 11 knockouts. On May 26, 2012, Hirales traveled to Nottingham, Great Britain, to face fellow unbeaten fighter, Carl Frampton for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight (122 lbs) Title and lost the bout by unanimous decision. In May 2015, at the end of his career Hirales lost by points to Jessie Magdaleno at the Chelsea Ballroom, Las Vegas.

Ramiro Reducindo won the gold medal at the 2002 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo as a light heavyweight (178 lbs) by defeating Yoan Pablo Hernandez of Cuba in the final.

At the Central American Games in 2002, he lost in the final to southpaw Shawn Terry Cox from Barbados and won the silver medal. At the 2003 Pan-Am Games, Ramiro upset Cuban southpaw Hernandez to win his second Pan-Am Gold. At the 2004 Athens, Greece Summer Olympics, Reducindo was beaten in the first round of the light heavyweight (81 kg) division by Belarus' eventual silver medalist, Magomed Aripgadjiev. When Reducindo turned pro in the cruiser-weight class, he won his first 8 bouts before getting knocked out twice, once by Eric Field of Ardmore, Oklahoma, in the first round. Field was the 2005 and 2006 USA National Golden Gloves Heavyweight champion.

In Cabo San Lucas, there's a young 26-year-old taxi driver who won silver at the national amateur championships, who is proud of having represented his "Choyero" community during his brief boxing career, before hanging up his gloves to raise a family.