The victory of Juan Marquez victory over Manny Pacquiao stamped Marquez as another of the great boxing legends to emerge from Mexico.
The first Mexican world boxing champion was Baby Arizmendi 80 years ago.
Alberto “Baby” Arizmendi (March 17, 1914 – December 31, 1962) was a professional boxer andFeatherweight World Boxing Champion. He also competed in thebantamweight and welterweight divisions. Arizmendi is famous for being the first Mexican world boxing champion and youngest boxer ever to turn pro. Arizmendi turned pro at the age of 13.
Baby used a charging, bruising style, making him a very strong two-fisted fighter. He won his first title in November 1931 when he won the Mexican bantamweight title. With victories over such names as Fidel LaBarba, Baby established himself as a worthy contender for the featherweight crown.
On September 16, 1932, at the age of 19, he defeated reigning NBA World Featherweight champion Tommy Paul in a ten round non-title fight, dropping him once in the process. The NBA world title was not at stake because Paul came in over the weight limit. After that win, Arizmendi requested that the NBA recognize his status as champion. In support of his claim to the NBA title, the California boxing commission gave him the opportunity to fight for their world title. The following month, Arizmendi defeated Newsboy Brown to claim the California Featherweight Boxing Title. He retained his title with a draw against Varias Milling then defended it against Archie Bell and Speedy Dado. He lost the title to NBA World Featherweight Boxing Champion Freddie Miller in a 10-round unification bout. However, Arizmendi didn’t give up, as he met Miller again later that year and defeated him in a non-title fight. In his following bouts, Arizmendi won 9 and lost 2. On August 30, 1934, he defeated Mike Belloise or the New York state featherweight crown. After the win, Arizmendi attempted to secure a third fight with NBA boxing champion Miller in a title bout, however, Miller refused to face him.
On November 4, 1934, he defeated Henry Armstrong in their first of five meetings, winning almost every round despite suffering a broken wrist in the second round.
He defeated Armstrong once again on January 2, 1935, to claim the World Featherweight boxing title.
Following those victories, he defeated future world title holder Chalky Wright by fourth round knockout. During the next year and a half, Arizmendi posted a record of 9 wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws (including a second win over Wright). He subsequently lost the California-Mexico World boxing title in his third bout with Armstrong. In his following 7 fights, Arizmendi combined wins and losses before facing Armstrong for a fourth time. Despite losing the fight on points, Arizmendi ended Armstrong’s 27 fight knockout streak by going the distance with him. In his following 6 fights, Arizmendi won 5 and had a draw against reigning world lightweight champion Lou Ambers. His last bout with Armstrong was his last shot for a World title, where he dropped a grueling 10-round decision for the World Welterweight title. He continued boxing up until 1942, with occasional bouts with Lou Ambers, Sammy Angott, and George Latka, but never again went for a title.
After retiring from boxing, Arizmendi would serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later operated restaurants in the Echo Park District.
Baby Arizmendi – the first ever Mexican World boxing Champion
Author – Boxing Hall of Fame
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