New York – This is an era of Latino fighters and champions representing Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic. Cuba, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, and Mexico. The rivalry of champions continues to entail Puerto Rico versus Mexico which has always been a part of boxing history.
Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Erik Morales was a Mexican turf war. Barrera representing Mexico City and Morales from the small town of Tijuana were multiple champions who met in the ring three times for pride, bragging rights, and title belts in three different weight classes.
The trilogy resulted in Morales winning a brutal first fight for the super bantamweight championship. Two years later, Barrera took Morales’ WBC featherweight title, all three fights went the 12-round distance with close decisions.
The first and third bouts earned “Fight of the Year” honors from “The Ring Magazine.” Years later, Mexico and Puerto Rico have continued to dominate boxing with fighters holding major championships or ranked in the top ten list of contenders of the various sanctioning organizations.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing continue to sign the rising superstars from Puerto Rico. Top Rank was instrumental in promoting Hall of Famer Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
Miguel Cotto, for years was a highlight champion with Top Rank and the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes from light welterweight to middleweight in 2007 and 2009.
Saturday evening on ESPN at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, prior to Shakur Stevenson winning his second title in two weight classes, dethroning Jamel Herring of the WBO junior lightweight title, Top Rank continued to unveil junior lightweight Xander Zayas (11-0, 8 KO’s) as their newest sensation.from San Juan now residing in Sunrise Florida.
Zayas won his fifth fight of the year and dominated Dan Karpency (9-4-1, 4 KO’s) unil Karpency’s corner stopped the fight after the fourth round. Zayas landed nearly 50 percent of his power shots (81/166} and became the first to knock out the eight-year pro Karpency.
“My debut on ESPN, I stopped a guy that had not been stopped in eight years,” Zayas said. “I’m blessed to be here. I hope everybody enjoyed the show and now it’s back to the gym .”
“In my last fight in September, we noticed that my left hand was a low a little too much, so this camp we kept the elbows and shoulders up and tried to avoid that right hand. We knew he was going to come with those hooks, so we stayed low. Overall, I think I made an improvement. I showed I could adjust, and I hope everyone enjoyed it today.”
The plan is for Zayas to fight again in December at a Top Rank/ESPN televised show from Madison Square Garden in New York City, which by the way was the venue of many Trinidad and Cotto fights in front of sold out crowds.
“Hopefully, I can get on that December 11 show in New York,” he said. It is obvious, Top Rank has another rising superstar from Puerto Rico, Time will tell if the progress will develop Zayas as the next Trinidad or Cotto in their stable.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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