by Ted Sares
“I know I’ll beat Juan Manuel Marquez—Cesar Cuenca
After struggling with Marcus “El Chino” Maidana on May 3, Floyd Mayweather (now at 46-0) may no longer be the only viable challenger to reach and/or surpass Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0 and then retire.
Willie Pep (62-0), Julio Ceasar Chavez, Sr. (89-0-1) and Nino LaRocca (56-0) passed it but subsequently lost.
In controversial fashion, Michael Spinks ruined Larry Holmes’s effort to break Rocky’s record. Similarly, Dicky Ryan stopped Brian Nielsen (49-0 coming in) in 1999. While Joe Calzaghe retired in 2008 with a splendid 46-0 record, it seemed that Paul “The Pittsburgh Kid” Spadafora and Chris John might have still have had a decent chance, though both had been involved in draws,
On November 30, 2013, Father Time (the “Kid” is an old 37) and eroding skills caught up to Spadafora as tough Venezuelan Johan Perez (18-1-1-)scored a majority decision over The Kid in New Cumberland, West Virginia. It was Paul’s first loss in 50 pro bouts, dropping his record to 48-1-1 and ending his dream to match Marciano’s all-time record. “El Terrible” Perez upped his record to 18-1-1 and is no slouch. With the victory, he earned the interim WBA light welterweight world championship.
Indonesia’s Chris “The Dragon” John at 48-0-3 was tantalizingly close to long-retired Hall-of-Famer Ricardo “Finito” Lopez’s 51-0, though Finito’s record, like John’s, is marred by one draw which Lopez later avenged. But lo and behold, on December 6 in Australia, John was defeated for the first time in his 15-year career as South African Simpiwe Vetyeka imposed his will and badly hurt John in the fifth round and then dropped him in the sixth after which Chris retired in his corner at the end of the round. It ended the previously undefeated John’s remarkable run of 18 successful title defenses. The tough South African retained his IBO belt and also claimed John’s WBA title
“Finito’s” 51-0-1 mark is now out of realistic reach for all but Mayweather and one other.
This Argentinean light welterweight, who turned pro in 2002, is now at 47-0 as a result of a UD victory over Ghanaian Albert “Tornado” Mensah (27-4-1) on May 3, 2014., but the feather-fisted 33-year-old Cuenca will never, ever join the killer quintet of Luis Carlos Abregu, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos “El Chino” Maidana, and Omar Andres “El Huracan” Narvaez. With just two KOs in 47 wins, El Distinto is a distinct non-killer who only has two—yes—two KO’s to his credit—the first coming in 2005 and the second in 2013 against Diego Jean Ponce (25-6-3) by a wicked body shot to the mid-section. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnhiSDjBFus
Mensah has been in with tough opposition and holds a win over Michael Katsidis. Meanwhile, the popular and affable Cuenca has won several regional tiles including the FAB title, the WBA Fedecaribe title, and the Latino title. He is also ranked by the WBC, IBF, and WBO, and has some admirable notches on his belt.
Video footage shows that southpaw Cuenca is primarily a defensive fighter with quick hands and foot movement, a solid chin, good stamina, and fine technique. At one point, three-division champion Juan Manuel Marquez was set to fight Cuenca in April 2012 in Mexico City for a vacant interim junior welterweight title. Fortunately for Distinto, this potential butchering never came off.
So just how good is Cuenca? Let’s put it this way, Distinto will never make the killer quintet a sextet, but he could very well be the one who retires with a 50-0 record and yet be destined to wither on the vine of obscurity. Said another way, until he beats someone of international prominence, (and especially outside of Argentina) anything that is said about Distinto must be said with tongue-in-cheek.
Ted Sares is a private investor who enjoys writing about boxing. He also is a member of the Ring 4 International Boxing Hall of Fame and a member of Ring 10. A member of both the RAW and the Elite Powerlifting Federations, Ted is one of the oldest active competitors in the world and holds several U.S. records.