Champions from the past and the present
As part of the 50th anniversary of the WBC, we pay a fond tribute to our marvelous world champions-stars from the past, and diamonds-rough hewn or polished, that dominate the divisions nowadays.
Past...Luis Manuel RodrŪguez
He’s considered one of the best welterweights from 1969 until he retired in 1972.
Luis Manuel was born on June 17, 1937 in Camaguey, Cuba. He made his professional debut on June 2, 1956 against Lazaro Hernandez Kessell, who he KO'd in the third round.
Luis Manuel was always a very tough fighter with a lot of strength, skills and endurance, which made him a very dangerous opponent.
Luis Manuel's ability and big fight wins propelled him to a WBC welterweight title bout on March 21st, 1963 against Emilie Griffith. It was keenly anticipated, because both fighters were at the top of their game.
The Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles was the venue of this non stop action fight, which Luis Manuel won by UD to become the new champion of the division.
Griffith became his adhesive “foe” because they fought 4 times and only 1 time Luis Manuel was able to beat him.
Luis faced rivals like Benny "Kid" Paret, Virgil Akins, Emile Griffith, Isaac Logart, Federico Thompson, LC Morgan, Garland Randall and Austin Charley. His last fight was on April 12th, 1972 when he was defeated by Canadian Donato Paduano at the Paul Sauve Arena in Montreal, Quebec.
Present...Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Son of leading contender Floyd Mayweather, and nephew plus student of the former world champion Roger “Black Mamba” Mayweather, Floyd Jr was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on February 24th, 1977. His fledgling love of boxing started when he was just three, and he was showing exceptional talent, by the age of seven.
Floyd Jr made his professional debut on October 11, 1996 against Roberto Apodaca to who he defeated by TKO in 2 rounds. With a perfect record, Floyd fought for the WBC super featherweight title on October 3, 1998 against champion Genaro Hernandez, who he dominated, and until the beginning of the 8th round, when Genaro’s corner decided not to continue. Floyd had won his first title.
He defended it eight times and then decided to move to lightweight division where Jose Luis Castillo was the champion.
Floyd Jr began dominated the first part of the fight superbly judging distance with a powerful jab and pinpoint follow up combintions. But notoriously slow starter, Jose Luis got into gear, and dug in with an array of eye watering punches into Floyd's body, closing down the range. It developed into a classic between an acccomplished boxer and a hunger insistent fighter. After twelve absorbing and testing rounds, Floyd won a UD and became lightweight champion. Floyd won a second fight against Jose Luis appreciably more convincingly.
He successfully defended his title three times and then vacated it to fight for the super lightweight title against champion Arturo Gatti who he KO’d in the 6th round.
Ambitious Floyd Jr decided not to defend his title but to move up yet further, to the welterweight division. He faced champion Carlos Baldomir, winning by decision in 12 rounds.
On May 5, 2007, Mayweather faced Oscar De la Hoya for the WBC super welterweight title in a long expected fight that established a new record on PPV sales. After 12 thrilling rounds the referee announced the new super welterweight champion. Floyd had conquered his fifth title in five different divisions. Incredible!
After successfully defended his title with a KO against Britain's Ricky Hatton, Floyd announced his retirement. But he returned, to face great rivals like Juan Manuel MŠrquez, Shane Mosley and VŪctor Ortiz, all of whom he defeated to become WBC welterweight champion once again. Floyd remains to this day, a fighter who has always been loyal to the WBC.