The great fighting land of Argentina comes under the BoxNation spotlight this weekend with both light-heavyweight Victor Emilio Ramirez and light-welter Lucas Matthysse featuring in separate live world title shows.

Glynn Evans trekked through the fight annuls to select seven Argies who really knew how to rumble inside the ring.

Luis Firpo

His ‘Wild Bull of the Pampas’ ring handle tells you everything about the fighting style of this Buenos Aires heavyweight.

Longer on brute force than craft, Firpo found iconic status in Latin America when, after suffering SEVEN first round knockdowns, he clumped Jack Dempsey clean out of the ring in a 1923 world title bout, before 80,000 at New York’s Polo Grounds.

‘The Manassa Mauler’ famously landed on a typewriter but was aided back into the ring by US press with the count at 17 and recovered to triumph in round two. Legendary US scribe Bert Randolph Sugar called it the greatest fight in the history of the sport.

 

Oscar Bonavena

Known as ‘Ringo’ due to his Beatles mop haircut, Buenos Aires based Bonavena was an uncompromising and obscenely tough heavyweight who battled all the ace faces of the division’s Golden Age in the 1970s.

Aggressive and free swinging, he twice clubbed ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier to the canvas and lasted into the fifteenth round of a gruelling battle with Muhammad Ali. ‘The Argentine Strong Boy’ also duelled the likes of Folley, Chuvalo, Ellis, Patterson and Lyle whilst compiling 58-9-1 stats.

Both his career and life came to a drastic end in 1976, when he was shot dead at the Mustang Ranch, Reno. One hundred and fifty thousand mourners filed by his body as it lay in state in Buenos Aires.

OSCAR BONAVENA

Sergio Martinez

Formerly a gifted soccer player and cyclist, ‘Maravilla’ (Wonder) only took up boxing to stave off bullies after having his bike nicked!

A slick and mobile southpaw with feline reflexes and a sharp dig, he was already 35 when he lifted the WBO and WBC middleweight belts by upsetting Ohio’s Kelly Pavlik in 2010.

Though he routinely conceded natural weight, Martinez kept the belt for four years, scalping Brits Darren Barker, Matt Macklin and Martin Murray. His one shot wipe out of touted Yank Paul Williams earned him Ring magazine’s Knockout of the Year in 2010.

Apparently, he is no longer bullied!

 

Victor Galindez

‘El Leopardo’ – no translation needed – won just 11 of his first 22 pro fights then went unbeaten in his next 43 after incorporating guile into his vicious two-fisted slashing attacks.

Galindez reigned twice on the WBA light-heavy throne between 1974 and 1979, triumphing in 12 of 14 world championship fights during the 175lb division’s most competitive era. Victory in a succession of attritional wars vaulted him into the sport’s Hall of Fame in 2002.

An incurable fast liver, he was killed, aged 31, in a motor racing accident in 1980.

VICTOR GALINDEZ

Nicolino Locche

Though a perfect physical fit for the stereotypical Argentine barrel chested brawler, this Mendoza light-welter was actually one of the cutest defensive wizards ever to duck between the ropes.

Known as ‘The Untouchable’, feather-fisted Locche was a master at standing in the line of fire only to leave opponents flapping at fresh air due to his brilliant parrying skills and an inbuilt ‘radar’ for averting punches.

Widely avoided for 10 years, he finally got a world title break in 1968 and knocked up a rare stoppage win over in Japan. He successfully defended five times.

All but 15 of his 136 fights lasted the full course but his stamina was never found wanting; despite his penchant for puffing on cigarettes between rounds!

 

Pascual Perez

‘The Terrier’ from Mendoza struck gold at the 1948 London Olympics then became his nation’s first ever boxing champion by outboxing and outhustling Japan’s Yoshio Shirai at a Tokyo baseball stadium in 1954.

Only 4ft 11 on his tiptoes, the master box-fighter was the shortest ever world champion at that time and conceded height in each of his 92 pro fights.

But his boundless stamina and a brutal punch from either glove saw him successfully retain his world flyweight crown nine times during a globe-trotting five and a half year reign.
‘Escopeta’ (Shotgun!) from Santa Fe was among the most complete prizefighters of all-time and a leading candidate for the greatest middleweight ever.

One of 12 kids who skipped school to shine shoes, Monzon could box or brawl with equal prowess. He was also a master tactician with an iron chin and dynamite in both fists. He went unbeaten for the final 13 years (82 fights) of his career and a near seven year reign as undisputed world middleweight king included 14 successful defences against solid competition.

His life beyond the ropes was equally colourful, equally violent. Blessed with matinee looks, Monzon partied with the rich and famous and dated several leading actresses. However, his mustard temper regularly boiled over into domestic abuse.

His first wife shot him twice and he was sentenced to 11 years for throwing a common-law wife to her death from a second floor balcony. In 1995, on furlough from prison, he was killed in a car crash, aged 52. His funeral brought the nation to a standstill.

 Carlos Monzon