The presentation in Las Vegas of the new super featherweight champion of the World Boxing Association, Alberto ‘Explosivo’ Machado, has caused the boxing world to remember the passage of great legends of the pugilism of “The island of enchantment” for the city of casinos, internationally recognized as the new mecca of boxing.
Characters of the stature of Miguel Ángel Cotto and Félix ‘Tito’ Trinidad have been some of the Puerto Rican men who showed their quality in Las Vegas, achieving nights of joy for fans of the island, as Machado hopes to do this Saturday when he completes the mandatory defense of the WBA super featherweight title against the Ghanaian Rafael Mensah.
In Las Vegas, four-time champion Miguel Cotto, who happens to be Machado’s promoter, fought 13 times with a record of eight wins and only four losses. It was in Las Vegas where ‘Junito’ came out victorious over fighters of the caliber of Lovemore Ndou, César Bazán, Randall Bailey and Ricardo Mayorga. Precisely before Mayorga, in 2011, he made the first successful defense of the WBA super welterweight championship that he had won a year before to Yuri Foreman.
It was in Las Vegas also where the charismatic Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad got two of the most representative triumphs of his career, winning a controversial battle against Óscar de la Hoya in the so-called ‘Fight of the Millennium’ in 1999 and then knocking out Fernando ‘Feroz’ Vargas in 2000. ‘Tito’ also defeated another great Puerto Rican, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, Luis Ramon Campas, Roger Turner, Rodney Moore, Freddie Pendleton, Ray Lovato and David Reid.
The reign of ‘Explosivo’ Machado is just beginning and the dream of equaling Puerto Rican royalty will remain alive as long as he can show his quality, like legends such as Cotto and Trinidad did in Las Vegas, representative of the big boxing billboards for more than 30 years.