SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 5, 2020 – Boxing fans are missing more than a margarita today on Cinco de Mayo. They are missing their traditional “Mexican Style” all-action card, a boxing tradition bringing fans to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun and viewers to their televisions.
Cinco de Mayo isn’t a particularly big Mexican holiday, and it’s not the nation’s Independence Day. It’s a minor holiday south of the border. Mexican Independence Day is September 16, and it’s on this weekend the Mexican holiday fight tradition first started, launched by Hall of Fame great Julio Caesar Chavez Sr. in the early 1990s.
Among Chavez Sr.’s famous opponents was Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya learned well from Chavez Sr., and claimed Cinco de Mayo as his holiday fight weekend springboard. He has since passed the torch to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, although plenty of other fighters have gotten in on the tradition.
Without a Mexican flavored ring rivalry for 2020 to enjoy, ESPN News is bringing back five of boxing’s best Mexican Style fights and grudge matches, starting at 7 p.m. PT/4 p.m. PT. The final two fights in the lineup will also air on ESPN+.
Also included is an interview with unified WBC and WBO super-lightweight champion José Ramirez. Ramirez will talk about his efforts to aid his Central Valley community in California in support of Covid-19 relief and how he’s staying ready to fight. Ramirez was the first athlete affected by the coronavirus pandemic, when his fight against challenge Viktor Postol on February 1 in China was canceled. The interview will air approximately 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
The throwback Cinco de Mayo boxing lineup:
Érik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera 1, February 19, 2000: WBC champion Morales (35-0. 28 KOs) put his belt on the line against WBO world champion Barrera (49-2, 36 KOs) in the super bantamweight division. This HBO “Boxing After Dark” event from the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas became Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year in 2000, and Round 5 was named Round of the Year by Ring Magazine. It was the first of a trilogy of fights over the next four years, becoming one of the boxing’s greatest trilogies ever.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez 1, May 8, 2004: The first of their four meetings took place at MGM Grand Garden Arena with Marquez (42-2-1) successfully defending his WBA and IBF featherweight world titles with a hotly disputed split draw. Marquez survived three first-round knockdowns, coming back with a furious finish to push Pacquiao (38-2-2) to the limit, leaving fans eager for a rematch after 12 rounds of superb boxing action.
Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito 1, July 26, 2008: Puerto Rican superstar Cotto (32-0, 26 KOs) faced Mexican bruiser Margarito (36-5, 26 KOs) in the fifth title defense of his WBA World Welterweight belt. It was Cotto’s first fight in Las Vegas in four years, in front of a partisan Mexican crowd supporting “The Tijuana Tornado.” Cotto took control early in the fight, but Margarito rallied in the later rounds to score a dramatic 11th round TKO when Cotto’s corner threw in the towel. The brutal fight became controversial due to the believe Margarito fought with loaded handwraps. Cotto would get his revenge three years later in front of his fans at Madison Square Garden on December 3, 2011, with a tenth-round TKO. After his victory, Cotto offered one of the most memorable quotes after a victory, saying of Margarito, “He is dead to me.”
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Julio César Chávez 1 June 7, 1996: De La Hoya, the 23-year-old unbeaten Mexican-American superstar, and Olympic gold medalist sought a world title in a third weight class against Mexico’s hero Chavez Sr., age 33. Billed as “Ultimate Glory” in an outdoor arena at Caesar Palace in Las Vegas, Chavez Sr. entered the bout with an astounding 97-1-1 record. Chavez Sr. suffered a broken hose and serious cuts, losing his super lightweight world title in four shocking rounds to De La Hoya when the ringside physician stopped the fight on cuts.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez 4, December 8, 2012: In what turned out to be their final meeting, the fourth fight between Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) and Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) had no major world titles at stake, although the WBO called it their “Champion of the Decade” fight. After three previous fights all going to controversial scorecards, the fourth fight flipped the script in brutal fashion. Pacquiao held a 2-0-1 series lead. Marquez scored one of boxing’s most memorable and shocking knockouts with a second left in the sixth round, leaving the stunned audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and 1.5 million people watching on HBO in shock. HBO color commentator Roy Jones Jr. memorably said over the commotion, “He’s not getting up, Jim! He’s not getting up!” to play by play announcer Jim Lampley. Watching the bout, it seemed Pacquiao might be lifeless on the canvas. Remarkably, he eventually did get up and eight years later, seems to have suffered no lasting damage from the loss, still fighting in good form at age 41. Marquez
In addition, ESPN Deportes will air 30 hours of classic Top Rank bouts featuring some of boxing’s best both past and present including Márquez, Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roberto Durán, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Vasiliy Lomachenko, and Terence Crawford.
READ MORE: Boxing classics thrill fans again
7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT: Érik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera 1
8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT: Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez 1
9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT: Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito 1
ESPN News and ESPN+
10 p.m. PT/7 p.m. PT: Oscar De La Hoya vs. Julio César Chávez 1
11 p.m. PT/8 p.m. PT: Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez 4
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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