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Top 5 Best Puerto Rican Boxers

Best Boxers from Puerto Rico in History:

Few countries, locales or regions can claim the boxing heritage that Puerto Rico can. The top 5 best Puerto Rican boxers of all-time is a who’s who of some of the sports best and most memorable fighters. Take a look at the list to see for yourself where the best from the island are listed.

    Be sure to check out the rest of our Boxing: The Best of a Nation series for more top 5 and 10 lists of the best boxers from different countries and locales.
  1. Carlos Ortiz (Career: 1955-1972): Ortiz was the complete package, blending polished boxing skills with a decidedly hard edge. One of the perfect fighting machines of his time and any other era and one of the best lightweights to ever lace ‘em up. First made a dent in the world-class ranks at junior welterweight, knocking out excellent Kenny Lane, 31-0 Battling Torres, and decisioning Hall of Famer Duilio Loi—a fighter with one loss in 110 fights. After 2 losses to Loi, moved down to 135, beating champion Joe Brown for the title. Made super high-quality defenses, including wins over Flash Elorde (twice), Lane, and Sugar Ramos. Lost and won back his belt against Hall of Famer Ismael Laguna, winning 2 of a 3-fight series.
  2. Wilfredo Gomez (Career: 1974-1989): Hard-hitting legend won WBC 122-pound belt by destroying Dong-Kyun Yum, a fighter with only 2 losses in 58 bouts. Consolidated his stature as one of the best in the business with a 5th-round knockout of 52-0 bantamweight phenom Carlos Zarate. In his prime, only lost to featherweight kingpin Salvador Sanchez, making 17 knockout defenses between 1977-83. Won a featherweight title against Juan LaPorte and a 130-pound belt in a controversial decision over Rocky Lockridge.
  3. Wilfred Benitez (Career: 1973-1990): “El Radar” holds a title that simply will never be broken—winning a world title at age 17, against legendary champion Antonio Cervantes no less. Went on to defeat a good welterweight champion in Carlos Palomino before running into Sugar Ray Leonard. Rebounded with some good wins, including winning a title in his 3rd weight class by knocking out 154-pound champ Maurice Hope. Defended against Roberto Duran, before fast living and lax training caught up with him, rendering him a spent force by his mid-twenties.
  4. Felix Trinidad (Career: 1990-2008): Booming left hooks and an irrepressible fighting spirit paved the way for a great career. 42-3 career mark looks even better when considering he dropped 3 of his last 5 bouts. Decimated Maurice Blocker for the IBF Welterweight Title in 1993 and made 15 defenses, including a controversial decision over undefeated Oscar De La Hoya. Won 154-pound belt from David Reid and crushed unbeaten Fernando Vargas in a defense, before going to 160. Looked great in taking William Joppy’s WBA middleweight belt, but then Bernard Hopkins effectively brought an end to this glorious career. “Tito” was one of the best.
  5. Miguel Cotto (Career: 2001-present): Had an underrated run at 140 pounds—beating Lovemore N’dou, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Muhammad Abdullaev, Ricardo Torres, and Paul Malignaggi. Put together an even better resume at welterweight, defeating big names like Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, and Joshua Clottey. Written off by some after a loss to Antonio Margarito and a beating at the hands of Manny Pacquiao. Still, his run at 154, including a knockout of reigning titlist Yuri Foreman, has given his career a second wind. One of the best careers of the past decade.

Hopefully you enjoyed our list of the best boxers from Puerto Rico in the history of the sport. There’s certainly plenty of room for debate on a list like this, because Puerto Rico has put forward so many exceptional pro fighters. Whether you agree or disagree, add your own thoughts to the best boxers from Puerto Rico below.