|Real name||José Ángel Nápoles|
|Height||5 ft 7+1⁄2 in (171 cm)|
|Reach||72 in (183 cm)|
|Born||April 13, 1940|
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
|Died||August 16, 2019 (aged 79)|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Wins by KO||54|
José Ángel Nápoles (April 13, 1940 – August 16, 2019) was a Cuban-born Mexican professional boxer. He was a two-time undisputed welterweight champion, having held the WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles between 1969 and 1975. He is frequently ranked as one of the greatest fighters of all time in that division and is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His record of the most wins in unified championship bouts in boxing history, shared with Muhammad Ali, was unbeaten for 40 years. After debuting professionally in Cuba, he fought out of Mexico and became a Mexican citizen.
Nápoles debuted as a professional boxer on August 2, 1958, in Cuba, knocking out Julio Rojas in the first round. Nápoles' first 21 bouts were in Cuba, against mostly unknown competition. He did beat Ángel García and Leslie Grant, but lost to Hilton Smith (in his first defeat).
After beating Enrique Carabeo in March 1961, Nápoles found himself a new challenge, outside of the ring; Cuban president Fidel Castro banned professional boxing in Cuba, and Nápoles soon found his career in jeopardy.
1964 was a successful year for Nápoles. He travelled to Japan, where he beat Taketeru Yoshimoto by knockout in round one, and he beat future world champion Carlos Morocho Hernández by knockout in round seven, this time back in Venezuela. In addition to those wins, he avenged his loss to Urbina by knocking him out twice, the first time in the first round and the second time in the third.
He won three more fights in 1965, including another win against Morgan, before seeing a raise in opposition quality when he faced the former world Junior Welterweight champion Eddie Perkins, beating him by decision in ten rounds. For his next fight, he met his own future world title challenger, Adolph Pruitt, beating him by knockout in round three.
In 1966, he won five fights, all by knockout, and lost one, to arch-rival Morgan, who knocked him out in round four. This would be his last loss in four years.
Nápoles began a streak of 20 wins in a row, 13 of them before challenging for the world's welterweight title. These included avenging the loss to Morgan with a two-round knockout. During this period, Nápoles also became a fan favorite in southern California, and, after beating Fate Davis, on February 15, 1969, in Mexico, he was given an opportunity to win the world championship when he faced the current champion Curtis Cokes in Inglewood, on April 18. Nápoles beat Cokes by a knockout in round 13 to become world welterweight champion, and, as was becoming common place for him, he wore a sombrero after the fight. On June 29, he retained the title in a rematch with Cokes by a knockout in round 10 in his hometown of Mexico City, and on October 12, he outpointed former world champion Emile Griffith in 15, also retaining the title.
Loss of title
Nápoles began the 1970s, by defeating Ernie "Indian Red" Lopez by a knockout in round 15 in front of an audience that included former world champion Sugar Ray Robinson on February 14, 1970. But after winning two non-title bouts, he suffered an upset when he was stopped due to being cut in four rounds by Carmen Basilio's nephew Billy Backus, who took the world's Welterweight title from Nápoles on December 3 at Syracuse.
Regaining the title
After winning one more fight, he and Backus fought again, for the world welterweight title now in Backus' hands. This time, it was held in Los Angeles, and Nápoles recovered the world championship via an 8th round stoppage. After three non-title wins, including one over Jean Josselin, he faced Hedgemon Lewis on December 14, retaining the world title with a decision in 15 rounds, but Nápoles' training habits were suffering; he was alleged to be coming into the gym stinking of alcohol with an attitude towards his seconds.
In 1972, he retained the title knocking out Ralph Charles in seven in England, and then, Pruitt resurfaced again, this time with the world Welterweight title on the line. Nápoles retained his crown by knockout in round two.
World traveller Nápoles began 1973 by retaining the title against Lopez again, by knockout in seven, then he visited Grenoble, France, where he retained the crown with a 15-round decision over Roger Menetrey, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada where he beat Clyde Gray, once again retaining the world title with a 15-round decision.
After this, many boxing fans were asking for a fight between Nápoles and World Middleweight Champion Carlos Monzón. The fight was made possible when Nápoles moved in weight to challenge Monzon for Monzon's title, so the two dueled on February 9, 1974, at a ring set up inside a circus tent that had been erected in the Paris suburb of Puteaux. This would be Nápoles' only bout at the Middleweight division, as he was defeated by quitting the match. Nápoles then went back to the Welterweight division, and retained the title twice before the year ended, with a knockout in nine over Lewis, and with a knockout in three over Horacio Saldaño.
In 1975, Nápoles had two wins over Armando Muniz, both times to retain his world title. The first time, a technical decision win in 12 rounds at Acapulco was a controversial win, so a return match was fought in Los Angeles, where Nápoles prevailed by decision.
On December 6 of that year, however, Nápoles lost his title to British boxing teacher John H. Stracey, who won over Nápoles by a technical knockout in round six at Mexico City despite being floored by Nápoles in round one. After this fight, Nápoles announced his retirement. Remarkably, he was able to stay away from the temptation of a comeback, much like Marvin Hagler.
Nápoles had a final record of 81 wins and 7 losses, with 54 wins by knockout, which makes him a member of the exclusive group of boxers that won 50 or more fights by knockout in their careers.
Napoles was the son of Pedro Napoles, a schoolteacher, and his wife Rosa. He had a brother, Pedro Napoles Jr. had nine children. He resided in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico with his wife Bertha.
Napoles co-starred with superstar Santo in a 1974 Mexican wrestler/horror film called Santo en la venganza de la llorona, aka Santo and Mantequilla Napoles in the Revenge of the Crying Woman.
Professional boxing record
|88 fights||81 wins||7 losses|
|88||Loss||81–7||John H. Stracey||TKO||6 (15)||Dec 6, 1975||Monumental Plaza de Toros, México, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico||Lost WBC and The Ring welterweight titles|
|87||Win||81–6||Armando Muñíz||UD||15||Jul 12, 1975||Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico||Retained WBC and The Ring welterweight titles|
|86||Win||80–6||Armando Muñíz||TD||12 (15)||Mar 29, 1975||Centro Internacional Acapulco, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|85||Win||79–6||Horacio Agustin Saldano||KO||3 (15)||Dec 14, 1974||Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|84||Win||78–6||Hedgemon Lewis||TKO||9 (15)||Aug 3, 1974||Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|83||Loss||77–6||Carlos Monzon||RTD||6 (15)||Feb 9, 1974||Puteaux, Hauts-de-Seine, France||For WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|82||Win||77–5||Clyde Gray||UD||15||Sep 22, 1973||Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|81||Win||76–5||Roger Menetrey||UD||15||Jun 23, 1973||Palais des Sports, Grenoble, Isère, France||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|80||Win||75–5||Ernie Lopez||KO||7 (15)||Feb 28, 1973||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|79||Win||74–5||Edmundo Leite||TKO||2 (10)||Aug 5, 1972||Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|78||Win||73–5||Adolph Pruitt||TKO||2 (15)||Jun 10, 1972||Plaza de Toros, Monumental, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|77||Win||72–5||Ralph Charles||KO||7 (15)||Mar 28, 1972||Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|76||Win||71–5||Hedgemon Lewis||UD||15||Dec 14, 1971||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|75||Win||70–5||Esteban Alfredo Osuna||UD||10||Oct 16, 1971||Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|74||Win||69–5||Jean Josselin||KO||5 (10)||Aug 23, 1971||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|73||Win||68–5||David Melendez||TKO||5 (10)||Jul 31, 1971||Arena Coliseo, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico|
|72||Win||67–5||Billy Backus||TKO||8 (15)||Jun 4, 1971||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Won WBA, WBC, NYSAC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|71||Win||66–5||Manuel Gonzalez||KO||6 (10)||Mar 27, 1971||Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|70||Loss||65–5||Billy Backus||TKO||4 (15)||Dec 3, 1970||War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse, New York, U.S.||Lost WBA, WBC, NYSAC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|69||Win||65–4||Pete Toro||TKO||9 (10)||Oct 5, 1970||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|68||Win||64–4||Fighting Mack||KO||3 (10)||Aug 14, 1970||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|67||Win||63–4||Ernie Lopez||TKO||15 (15)||Feb 14, 1970||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Retained WBA, WBC, NYSAC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|66||Win||62–4||Emile Griffith||UD||15||Oct 17, 1969||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Retained WBA, WBC, NYSAC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|65||Win||61–4||Curtis Cokes||RTD||10 (15)||Jun 29, 1969||Monumental Plaza de Toros, México, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, NYSAC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|64||Win||60–4||Curtis Cokes||RTD||13 (15)||Apr 18, 1969||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Won WBA, WBC, NYSAC, and The Ring welterweight titles|
|63||Win||59–4||Fate Davis||TKO||6 (10)||Feb 15, 1969||Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|62||Win||58–4||Lennox Beckles||KO||1 (10)||Dec 22, 1968||Monumental Plaza de Toros, México, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|61||Win||57–4||Des Rea||TKO||5 (10)||Nov 4, 1968||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|60||Win||56–4||Eddie Pace||UD||10||Jul 15, 1968||Plaza de Toros, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico|
|59||Win||55–4||Leroy Roberts||TKO||1 (10)||Jun 14, 1968||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|58||Win||54–4||Peter Cobblah||PTS||10||Jun 2, 1968||Monumental Plaza de Toros, México, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|57||Win||53–4||Herbie Lee||TKO||6 (10)||Apr 29, 1968||Plaza de Toros, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico|
|56||Win||52–4||Mike Cruz||TKO||4 (10)||Feb 18, 1968||Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico|
|55||Win||51–4||Charlie Watson||KO||6 (10)||Dec 3, 1967||Merida, Yucatán, Mexico|
|54||Win||50–4||Johnny DePeiza||TKO||1 (10)||Sep 11, 1967||Plaza de Toros, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico|
|53||Win||49–4||LC Morgan||TKO||2 (10)||Jul 10, 1967||Plaza de Toros, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico|
|52||Win||48–4||Johnny Brooks||KO||7 (10)||Jun 4, 1967||Merida, Yucatán, Mexico|
|51||Win||47–4||Eugenio Espinoza||TKO||6 (10)||Dec 17, 1966||El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|50||Win||46–4||Jimmy Fields||TKO||10 (10)||Oct 30, 1966||Plaza de Toros Fermin Rivera, San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosí, Mexico|
|49||Loss||45–4||LC Morgan||TKO||4 (10)||Aug 22, 1966||Estadio Adolfo López Mateos, Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico|
|48||Win||45–3||Humberto Trottman||KO||2 (10)||Jul 27, 1966||Plaza de Toros, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico|
|47||Win||44–3||Al Grant||TKO||4 (10)||Apr 17, 1966||Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico|
|46||Win||43–3||Johnny Santos||KO||3 (10)||Feb 12, 1966||Monumental Plaza de Toros, México, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|45||Win||42–3||Aldolph Pruitt||TKO||3 (10)||Dec 11, 1965||El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|44||Win||41–3||Eddie Perkins||UD||10||Aug 3, 1965||Plaza de Toros, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico|
|43||Win||40–3||Giordano Campari||TKO||2 (10)||Mar 25, 1965||Nuevo Circo, Caracas, Venezuela|
|42||Win||39–3||LC Morgan||KO||3 (10)||Feb 28, 1965||Plaza de Toros Monumental, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico|
|41||Win||38–3||Carlos Rios||KO||5 (10)||Jan 1, 1965||Plaza de Toros, Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico|
|40||Win||37–3||Alfredo Urbino||KO||3 (10)||Nov 14, 1964||El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|39||Win||36–3||Eduardo Moreno||TKO||5 (12)||Aug 15, 1964||Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico|
|38||Win||35–3||Carlos Morocho Hernández||TKO||7 (10)||Jun 22, 1964||Nuevo Circo, Caracas, Venezuela|
|37||Win||34–3||Alfredo Urbina||TKO||1 (10)||Apr 25, 1964||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|36||Win||33–3||Taketeru Yoshimoto||KO||1 (8)||Mar 1, 1964||Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan|
|35||Win||32–3||LC Morgan||KO||7 (10)||Nov 30, 1963||Caracas, Venezuela|
|34||Win||31–3||Tony Perez||TKO||3 (10)||Nov 16, 1963||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|33||Win||30–3||Francisco Cancio||KO||1 (10)||Oct 23, 1963||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|32||Win||29–3||Pulga Serrano||TKO||10 (10)||Aug 19, 1963||Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico|
|31||Win||28–3||Baby Vasquez||PTS||10||Jul 13, 1963||Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|30||Win||27–3||Raul Soriano||KO||4 (10)||May 27, 1963||Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico|
|29||Loss||26–3||Alfredo Urbina||PTS||10||Apr 27, 1963||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|28||Win||26–2||Baby Vasquez||UD||10||Mar 30, 1963||Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|27||Win||25–2||Baby Gutierrez||TKO||7 (10)||Feb 9, 1963||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|26||Loss||24–2||Tony Perez||SD||10||Jan 5, 1963||Plaza de Toros, HermosilloPlaza de Toros, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico|
|25||Win||24–1||Tony Perez||PTS||10||Nov 10, 1962||Plaza de Toros, Los Mochis, Plaza de Toros, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico|
|24||Win||23–1||Bobby Cervantes||TKO||1 (10)||Sep 29, 1962||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|23||Win||22–1||Kid Anahuac||KO||9 (10)||Aug 25, 1962||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|22||Win||21–1||Enrique Camarena||KO||2 (10)||Jul 21, 1962||Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico|
|21||Win||20–1||Angel Robinson Garcia||PTS||10||Jun 3, 1961||Havana, Cuba|
|20||Win||19–1||Rolando Chico Morales||UD||10||Mar 18, 1961||Havana, Cuba|
|19||Win||18–1||Guillermo Valdez||UD||10||Jan 28, 1961||Havana, Cuba|
|18||Win||17–1||Tony Padron||DQ||5 (10)||Dec 17, 1960||Palacio de Deportes, Havana, Cuba|
|17||Win||16–1||Rolando Chico Morales||PTS||10||Nov 26, 1960||Havana, Cuba|
|16||Win||15–1||Tony Padron||UD||10||Oct 15, 1960||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
|15||Win||14–1||Bunny Grant||PTS||10||Jul 2, 1960||Havana, Cuba|
|14||Win||13–1||Angel Robinson Garcia||PTS||10||May 21, 1960||Havana, Cuba|
|13||Win||12–1||Diwaldo Ventosa||UD||10||Feb 20, 1960||Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana, Cuba|
|12||Win||11–1||Isaac Espinosa||UD||10||Jan 2, 1960||Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana, Cuba|
|11||Win||10–1||Bobby Cervantes||TKO||1 (10)||Nov 28, 1959||Arena Trejo, Havana, Cuba|
|10||Win||9–1||Augusto Narvalle||UD||8||Nov 14, 1959||Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana, Cuba|
|9||Win||8–1||Cristobal Gonzalez||UD||8||Oct 3, 1959||Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana, Cuba|
|8||Loss||7–1||Hilton Smith||UD||8||Aug 22, 1959||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
|7||Win||7–0||Clodoaldo Hernandez||UD||8||Jul 25, 1959||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
|6||Win||6–0||Clodoaldo Hernandez||TKO||3 (6)||Jul 11, 1959||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
|5||Win||5–0||Juan Bacallo||TKO||4 (6)||May 16, 1959||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
|4||Win||4–0||Armando Castillo||PTS||4||Feb 21, 1959||Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana, Cuba|
|3||Win||3–0||Felix Pomares||TKO||2 (4)||Nov 29, 1958||Havana, Cuba|
|2||Win||2–0||Euripides Guerra||TKO||4 (4)||Oct 11, 1958||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
|1||Win||1–0||Julio Rojas||TKO||1 (4)||Aug 2, 1958||Coliseo Nacional, Havana, Cuba|
- "Welterweight legend Napoles dies at age 79". ESPN.com. August 16, 2019.
- "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone. Archived from the original on 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
- "Jose (Mantequilla) Napoles". International Boxing Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Boyle, Robert H. "EVERYTHING'S ROSY WITH JOSE". Vault. Archived from the original on 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- "Monzon And Napoles Will Fight In Circus Tent", AP report in Sacramento Bee, February 8, 1974, p.C3 ("Adel Productions now can offer boxing history a Belgian pitched in Puteaux, France.")
- Video on YouTube
- "Azúcar! The tale of two Cuban-Mexican boxers". May 14, 2015.
- "Welterweight legend Napoles dies at age 79". ESPN. August 16, 2019. Archived from the original on August 17, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- Boxing record for José Nápoles from BoxRec (registration required)