José Nápoles

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José Nápoles
José Nápoles c1973.jpg
Nápoles c. 1973
Statistics
Real nameJosé Ángel Nápoles
Nickname(s)Mantequilla
Weight(s)Welterweight
Height5' 7½" / 171cm
Reach72" / 183cm
NationalityMexican
Born(1940-04-13)April 13, 1940
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
DiedAugust 16, 2019(2019-08-16) (aged 79)
Mexico City, Mexico
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights88
Wins81
Wins by KO54
Losses7
Draws0
No contests0

José Ángel Nápoles, nicknamed Mantequilla ("Butter", referring to his smooth boxing style), (April 13, 1940 – August 16, 2019)[1] was a Cuban-born Mexican boxer and a World Welterweight Champion.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

Mexico[edit]

Boxing glove of Mantequilla Nápoles at El Dux de Venecia bar in Mexico City.

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.

He found asylum in Mexico, where he soon found himself back inside the ring, beating Enrique Camarena by a knockout in two rounds on July 21, 1962. He won all four of his fights that year.

In 1963, he won seven bouts and lost two. He was defeated by Tony Perez and Alfredo Urbina, both by decision, but he beat JC Morgan, by knockout in seven rounds, in Venezuela.

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.

Welterweight champion[edit]

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 of 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[edit]

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 be 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[edit]

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.

Middleweight[edit]

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 parking lot in Paris. 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.

Retirement[edit]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Napoles was the son of Pedro Napoles, a schoolteacher, and his wife Rosa. He had a brother, Pedro Napoles Jr. had nine children.[5] He resided in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico with his wife Bertha.[6]

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.

Nápoles died on August 16, 2019 in Mexico City after a long-illness at the age of 79.[7]

Honors[edit]

In 1985, Nápoles was inducted into The Ring boxing hall of fame, and in 1990 into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
88 fights 81 wins 7 losses
By knockout 54 4
By decision 26 3
By disqualification 1 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
88 Loss 81–7 United Kingdom John H Stracey TKO 6 (15) Dec 06, 1976 Mexico Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Mexico City Lost WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
87 Win 81–6 United States Armando Muniz UD 15 Jul 12, 1976 Mexico Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City Retained WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
86 Win 80–6 United States Armando Muniz TD 12 (15) Mar 29, 1975 Mexico Centro Internacional Acapulco, Acapulco Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
85 Win 79–6 Argentina Horacio Agustin KO 3 (15) Dec 14, 1974 Mexico Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
84 Win 78–6 United States Hedgemon Lewis TKO 9 (15) Aug 03, 1974 Mexico Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
83 Loss 77–6 Argentina Carlos Monzon RTD 6 (15) Feb 09, 1974 France Puteaux For WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
82 Win 77–5 Canada Clyde Gray UD 15 Sep 22, 1973 Canada Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
81 Win 76–5 France Roger Menetrey UD 15 Jun 23, 1973 France Palais des Sports, Grenoble Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
80 Win 75–5 United States Ernie Lopez KO 7 (15) Feb 28, 1973 United States Forum, Inglewood Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
79 Win 74–5 Brazil Edmundo Leite TKO 2 (10) Aug 05, 1972 Mexico Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City
78 Win 73–5 United States Adolph Pruitt TKO 2 (15) Jun 10, 1972 Mexico Plaza de Toros Monumental, Monterrey Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
77 Win 72–5 United Kingdom Ralph Charles KO 7 (15) Mar 28, 1972 United States Empire Pool, Wembley Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
76 Win 71–5 United States Hedgemon Lewis UD 15 Dec 14, 1971 United States Forum, Inglewood Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
75 Win 70–5 Argentina Esteban Alfredo Osuna UD 10 Oct 16, 1971 Mexico Arena Mexico, Mexico City
74 Win 69–5 France Jean Josselin KO 5 (10) Aug 23, 1971 United States Forum, Inglewood
73 Win 68–5 Puerto Rico David Melendez TKO 5 (10) Jul 31, 1971 Mexico Arena Coliseo, Monterrey
72 Win 67–5 United States Billy Backus TKO 8 (15) Jun 04, 1971 United States Forum, Inglewood Won WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
71 Win 66–5 United States Manuel Gonzalez KO 6 (10) Mar 27, 1971 Mexico Arena Mexico, Mexico City
70 Loss 65–5 United States Billy Backus TKO 4 (15) Dec 03, 1970 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse Lost WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
69 Win 65–4 United States Pete Toro TKO 9 (10) Oct 05, 1970 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
68 Win 64–4 Curaçao Fighting Mack KO 3 (10) Aug 14, 1970 United States Forum, Inglewood
67 Win 63–4 United States Ernie Lopez TKO 15 (15) Feb 14, 1970 United States Forum, Inglewood Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
66 Win 62–4 United States Virgin Islands Emile Griffith UD 15 Oct 17, 1969 United States Forum, Inglewood Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
65 Win 61–4 United States Curtis Cokes RTD 10 (15) Jun 29, 1969 Mexico Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Mexico City Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
64 Win 60–4 United States Curtis Cokes RTD 13 (15) Apr 18, 1969 United States Forum, Inglewood Won WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
63 Win 59–4 United States Fate Davis TKO 6 (10) Feb 15, 1969 Mexico Arena Mexico, Mexico City
62 Win 58–4 Guyana Lennox Beckles KO 1 (10) Dec 22, 1968 Mexico Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Mexico City
61 Win 57–4 United Kingdom Des Rea TKO 5 (10) Nov 04, 1968 United States Forum, Inglewood
60 Win 56–4 United States Eddie Pace UD 10 Jul 15, 1968 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Tijuana
59 Win 55–4 United States Leroy Roberts TKO 1 (10) Jun 14, 1968 United States Forum, Inglewood
58 Win 54–4 Ghana Peter Cobblah PTS 10 Jun 02, 1968 Mexico Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Mexico City
57 Win 53–4 United States Herbie Lee TKO 6 (10) Apr 29, 1968 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Tijuana
56 Win 52–4 Puerto Rico Mike Cruz TKO 4 (10) Feb 18, 1968 Mexico Tampico
55 Win 51–4 United States Charlie Watson KO 6 (10) Sep 11, 1967 Mexico Merida
54 Win 50–4 Trinidad and Tobago Johnny DePeiza TKO 1 (10) Sep 11, 1967 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Ciudad Juarez
53 Win 49–4 United States LC Morgan TKO 2 (10) Jul 10, 1967 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Tijuana
52 Win 48–4 United States Johnny Brooks KO 7 (10) Jun 04, 1967 Mexico Merida
51 Win 47–4 Ecuador Eugenio Espinoza TKO 6 (10) Dec 17, 1966 Mexico El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City
50 Win 46–4 United States Jimmy Fields TKO 10 (10) Oct 30, 1966 Mexico Plaza de Toros Fermin Rivera, San Luis Potosi
49 Loss 45–4 United States LC Morgan TKO 4 (10) Aug 22, 1966 Mexico Estadio Adolfo López Mateos, Reynosa
48 Win 45–3 Panama Humberto Trottman KO 2 (10) Jul 27, 1966 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Ciudad Juarez
47 Win 44–3 United States Al Grant TKO 4 (10) Apr 17, 1966 Mexico Reynosa
46 Win 43–3 United States Johnny Santos KO 3 (10) Feb 12, 1966 Mexico Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Mexico City
45 Win 42–3 United States Aldolph Pruitt TKO 3 (10) Dec 11, 1965 Mexico El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City
44 Win 41–3 United States Eddie Perkins UD 10 Aug 03, 1965 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Ciudad Juarez
43 Win 40–3 Italy Giordano Campari TKO 2 (10) Mar 25, 1965 Venezuela Nuevo Circo, Caracas
42 Win 39–3 United States LC Morgan KO 3 (10) Feb 28, 1965 Mexico Plaza de Toros Monumental, Monterrey
41 Win 38–3 Mexico Carlos Rios KO 5 (10) Jan 01, 1965 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Torreon
40 Win 37–3 Mexico Alfredo Urbino KO 3 (10) Nov 14, 1964 Mexico El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City
39 Win 36–3 Mexico Eduardo Moreno TKO 5 (12) Aug 15, 1964 Mexico Culiacan
38 Win 35–3 Venezuela Carlos Morocho Hernandez TKO 7 (10) Jun 22, 1964 Venezuela Nuevo Circo, Caracas
37 Win 34–3 Mexico Alfredo Urbina TKO 1 (10) Apr 25, 1964 Mexico Mexico City
36 Win 33–3 Japan Taketeru Yoshimoto KO 1 (8) Mar 01, 1964 Japan Kokugikan
35 Win 32–3 United States LC Morgan KO 7 (10) Nov 30, 1963 Venezuela Caracas
34 Win 31–3 Mexico Tony Perez TKO 3 (10) Nov 16, 1963 Mexico Mexico City
33 Win 30–3 Mexico Francisco Cancio KO 1 (10) Oct 23, 1963 Mexico Mexico City
32 Win 29–3 Mexico Pulga Serrano TKO 10 (10) Aug 19, 1963 Mexico Tijuana
31 Win 28–3 Mexico Baby Vasquez PTS 10 Jul 13, 1963 Mexico Arena Mexico, Mexico City
30 Win 27–3 Mexico Raul Soriano KO 4 (10) May 27, 1963 Mexico Tijuana
29 Loss 26–3 Mexico Alfredo Urbina PTS 10 Apr 27, 1963 Mexico Mexico City
28 Win 26–2 Mexico Baby Vasquez UD 10 Mar 30, 1963 Mexico Arena Mexico, Mexico City
27 Win 25–2 Mexico Baby Gutierrez TKO 7 (10) Feb 09, 1963 Mexico Mexico City
26 Loss 24–2 Mexico Tony Perez SD 10 Jan 05, 1963 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Hermosillo
25 Win 24–1 Mexico Tony Perez PTS 10 Nov 10, 1962 Mexico Plaza de Toros, Los Mochis
24 Win 23–1 Mexico Bobby Cervantes TKO 1 (10) Sep 29, 1962 Mexico Mexico City
23 Win 22–1 Mexico Kid Anahuac KO 9 (10) Aug 25, 1962 Mexico Mexico City
22 Win 21–1 Mexico Enrique Camarena KO 2 (10) Jul 21, 1962 Mexico Mexico City
21 Win 20–1 Cuba Angel Robinson Garcia PTS 10 Jun 03, 1961 Cuba Havana
20 Win 19–1 Cuba Rolando Chico Morales UD 10 Mar 18, 1961 Cuba Havana
19 Win 18–1 Cuba Guillermo Valdez UD 10 Jan 28, 1961 Cuba Havana
18 Win 17–1 Venezuela Tony Padron DQ 5 (10) Dec 17, 1960 Cuba Palacio de Deportes, Havana
17 Win 16–1 Cuba Rolando Chico Morales PTS 10 Nov 26, 1960 Cuba Havana
16 Win 15–1 Venezuela Tony Padron UD 10 Oct 15, 1960 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana
15 Win 14–1 Jamaica Bunny Grant PTS 10 Jul 02, 1960 Cuba Havana
14 Win 13–1 Cuba Angel Robinson Garcia PTS 10 May 21, 1960 Cuba Havana
13 Win 12–1 Cuba Diwaldo Ventosa UD 10 Feb 20, 1960 Cuba Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana
12 Win 11–1 Cuba Isaac Espinosa UD 10 Jan 02, 1960 Cuba Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana
11 Win 10–1 Mexico Bobby Cervantes TKO 1 (10) Nov 28, 1959 Cuba Arena Trejo, Havana
10 Win 9–1 Cuba Augusto Narvalle UD 8 Nov 14, 1959 Cuba Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana
9 Win 8–1 Cuba Cristobal Gonzalez UD 8 Oct 03, 1959 Cuba Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana
8 Loss 7–1 United States Hilton Smith UD 8 Aug 22, 1959 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana
7 Win 7–0 Cuba Clodoaldo Hernandez UD 8 Jul 25, 1959 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana
6 Win 6–0 Cuba Clodoaldo Hernandez TKO 3 (6) Jul 11, 1959 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana
5 Win 5–0 Cuba Juan Bacallo TKO 4 (6) May 16, 1959 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana
4 Win 4–0 Cuba Armando Castillo PTS 4 Feb 21, 1959 Cuba Coliseo de la Ciudad, Havana
3 Win 3–0 Cuba Felix Pomares TKO 2 (4) Nov 29, 1958 Cuba Havana
2 Win 2–0 Cuba Euripides Guerra TKO 4 (4) Oct 11, 1958 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana
1 Win 1–0 Cuba Julio Rojas TKO 1 (4) Aug 02, 1958 Cuba Coliseo Nacional, Havana

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Welterweight legend Napoles dies at age 79". ESPN.com. August 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone. Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  3. ^ "Jose (Mantequilla) Napoles". International Boxing Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  4. ^ Boyle, Robert H. "EVERYTHING'S ROSY WITH JOSE". Vault. Archived from the original on 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  5. ^ Video on YouTube
  6. ^ "Azúcar! The tale of two Cuban-Mexican boxers". May 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "Welterweight legend Napoles dies at age 79". ESPN. August 16, 2019. Archived from the original on August 17, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Curtis Cokes
World Welterweight Champion
April 18, 1969 – December 3, 1970
Succeeded by
Billy Backus
Preceded by
Billy Backus
World Welterweight Champion
June 4, 1971–October 28, 1975
Succeeded by
John H. Stracey
WBA Welterweight Champion
June 4, 1971–1975
Stripped
Succeeded by
Ángel Espada
WBC Welterweight Champion
June 4, 1971 – October 28, 1975
Succeeded by
John H. Stracey