Ranking the Best Cuban Fighters in Boxing History

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Ranking the Best Cuban Fighters in Boxing History
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Cuba has one of the richest boxing histories on the planet. Fighters such as Kid Gavilan and Jose Napoles were major stars of their era.

Yet, compiling a ranking for Cuban fighters is more complicated than for most other countries. Since Fidel Castro's Communist government took power in the early 1960s, it's been impossible for boxers from the nation to compete as professionals without fleeing into exile.

That makes it tough to define the standing of a fighter such as heavyweight Olympic star Teofilo Stevenson. Stevenson is the biggest sports hero in the nation's history, with a status in Cuba something like Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan combined.

Yet, he never fought a single bout as a professional.

But complicated or not, the Cuban's boxing past is glorious. When Yuriorkis Gamboa challenges Terence Crawford in Nebraska this weekend, he will carry a proud banner into the ring.

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