Ranking the 5 Countries Other Than the USA with the Best Boxing History

Kevin McRae@@McRaeWritesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2013

Ranking the 5 Countries Other Than the USA with the Best Boxing History

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    Boxing is still a huge business in the United States. Pay-per-view cards do huge numbers, fighters get paid handsomely for their efforts and great American fighters can be found in virtually all weight divisions.

    But the United States isn't close to the only nation with a proud fighting tradition. 

    Many other nations, particularly in Latin America and Asia, have produced their fair share of legendary fighters and great champions.

    They too have proud fighting traditions that in many cases equal and in some instances even eclipse that of the United States.

    These are the five nations that are on par with the United States when it comes to boxing history.


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    When you think of proud boxing nations, there are none better than Mexico. It has produced more than its fair share of warriors, legends and great champions.

    The greatest of them all of course is Julio Cesar Chavez, who won six world championships in three weight divisions and spent much of his career considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. 

    But Chavez is not alone—not even close. When you think of great Mexican fighters, you think Ruben Olivares, considered one of the best bantamweights of all time; Salvador Sanchez,  whose career was cut tragically short; the undefeated, long-time strawweight champ, Ricardo Lopez; and knockout machine Carlos Zarate.

    The list just goes on and on, and that doesn't even include the more recent crop of great fighters from Mexico.

    Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez have proudly taken the torch from the generation that came before them and will no doubt pass it on to the next generation of proud Mexican warriors.

Puerto Rico

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    For an island of under four million people, Puerto Rico has sure produced a ton of great fighters. 

    Felix "Tito" Trinidad is perhaps the best known of the lot and is a fighter who won world championships at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight. 

    When Trinidad faded from the scene, he passed the torch to Miguel Cotto, who is also a multitime world champion and considered one of the sport's best fighters in recent years.

    Before them came a crop that included legends Wilfredo "Bazooka" Gomez, who was involved in many high-profile fights with rival Mexican warriors, Wilfred Benitez and the late Hector "Macho" Camacho.

    When it comes to boxing history, Puerto Rico can compete with anyone.

The Philippines

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    For many fight fans, when you mention boxing and The Philippines, only one name comes to mind—Manny Pacquiao.

    And with good reason. The Pac-Man has won world championships in a record eight weight classes, everywhere from flyweight to junior middleweight, and he's spent many years amongst the consensus best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

    It remains to be seen if Pacquiao's contemporary, Nonito Donaire, will achieve these sort of accolades and popularity, but he is well on his way coming off his 2012 Fighter of the Year honors.

    Before Pacquiao and Donaire, the island nation was known for producing great fighters, including multi-weight world champions Gerry Penalosa and Luisito Espinosa. 

    This list would not be complete without mentioning the contributions of earlier Filipino greats Flash Elorde, a Hall of Famer who won world titles in two weight classes, and Pancho Villa, who saw his life tragically cut short.

United Kingdom

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    British boxing has a long, proud and varied history.

    Another island nation (spotting a trend here), England has produced champions in most of boxing's glamour divisions and many high-profile fighters both in recent times and from yesteryear.

    In boxing's early days, Britain produced three men whose names are consistently ranked amongst the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.

    These include fighters like Ted "Kid" Lewis, who won the world welterweight title on several occasions, and Jimmy Wilde, who won the flyweight title and many European championships.

    In the modern era, names like multitime world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, as well as champions Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank are frequently mentioned.

    Joe Calzaghe, who retired in 2008 with an undefeated record and a 10-year reign as WBO super middleweight champion, is often overlooked but certainly ranks among England's best.


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    When it comes to boxing history, and true history, Cuba may trump a lot of the other nations on this list.

    Cuban boxing, both amateur and professional, is legendary throughout Latin America and the world.

    The best professional of them all to come from the island nation is without a doubt Gerardo Gonzalez, who is better known as Kid Gavilan. 

    Gavilan won the world welterweight title and faced many great fighters, including Sugar Ray Robinson, Bobo Olson and Carmen Basilio, whom he defeated.

    Eligio Sardiñas Montalvo, also known as the real Kid Chocolate, held a world championship for several years en route to winning 135 professional fights.

    While many historians consider Jose Napoles to be one of Mexico's greatest fighters, he was in fact born in Cuba, where he spent his early career.

    Just this past summer, the sport lost perhaps the greatest Cuban fighter of all time in  highly decorated amateur heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson. 

    Stevenson was considered one of the best heavyweights of all time despite never turning pro. He also won three Olympic gold medals. 

    He amassed an amazing 302 wins compared to just 22 defeats in a career that made him perhaps the most famous Cuban athlete of all time.