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Ireland v Mexico: Frampton/Santa Cruz only the latest in a long history of fights

In anticipation of this weekend’s big fight, we take a look back at some of the most notable fights between both countries.

SATURDAY NIGHT’S BOXING showdown will exhibit the talents of two countries with a long history of boxing traditions.

Mexico’s fine boxing heritage and the “Fighting Irish” have long been regarded as among the finest exponents of world boxing and both will collide on Saturday night when Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz meet at the Barclays Center in New York.

This isn’t the first time both countries have met in the ring as we’ve been treated to some fantastic bouts over the years on both sides of the Atlantic.

We decided to take a look at some of the more notable fights between Mexico and Ireland from the past.

Wayne McCullough v Erik Morales (22 October 1999)

The 1992 Olympic silver medalist faced one of the most promising prospects in the world of boxing when he entered the ring in the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Morales won the WBC super bantamweight title as a 21-year-old two years previous to the fight, and had already successfully defended it seven times without reaching the final bell.

McCullough refused to stick to the script in the Michigan city and battled all the way to the final bell despite Morales dominating for most of the fight.

A knockout seemed imminent on numerous occasions but McCullough not only took brutal punishment but responded tenaciously every time he was at the receiving end of an onslaught.

Even though Morales unquestionably won the fight, it became a contender for fight of the year as the score didn’t reflect the nature of the bout.

McCullough never added another title to the WBC bantamweight title he held earlier in his career but Morales would go on to beat some of the biggest names in boxing including Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera and Jesús Chavéz.

Source: Kings of Boxing/YouTube

John Duddy v Michael Medina (13 March 2010)

Although it wasn’t the most spectacular fight involving Mexican and Irish fighters you will ever see, it was quite the special occasion.

The fight occurred in the dazzling Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Joshua Clottey clash, in front of a crowd of over 40,000 people.

Duddy looked to be in control throughout the fight, despite failing to land a knockout blow on his Mexican opponent.

The Derry man was clearly the more impressive performer on the night and looked set to win the match unanimously.

Medina’s body language after the fight suggested as much but one judge disagreed scoring the fight in the Mexican’s favour. Fortunately, Duddy still got the split decision.

The belt he had been chasing his entire career was still within his grasp but as it happened, the fight in the NFL stadium would turn out to be his penultimate one as his loss to Julio César Chávez Jr. three months later was his final.

Source: NotBlowBlowGoodPunch/YouTube

Andy Lee v Julio César Chávez Jr. (16 June 2012)

We don’t have to delve too far back into our memories to recount the Limerick man’s bout against the son of former legend Julio César Chávez.

The Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas provided the venue for Lee’s first title bout.

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After making a memorable entrance in a hummer limo, Lee tried to make use of his reach advantage in the early rounds by keeping his distance with the 26-year-old.

Unfortunately for the Irishman, it was only a matter of time before his opponent breached his guard and the referee was forced to stop the fight in the seventh round.

The Mexican subsequently lost his title in this next fight against Argentinian Sergio Martínez and Lee finally claimed the WBO middleweight belt in 2014.

Both fighters are still active and who knows, a second chapter to this saga may still lie ahead.

Source: parkerbohnn/YouTube

Eamonn Loughran v José Luis Lopez (13 April 1996)

When the man from Ballymena entered the Everton Park Sports Centre Arena, bolstering his reputation must surely have been at the forefront of his mind.

The Irishman had struggled to obtain the celebrity status that other champions in his division had achieved and a big performance was needed from Loughran in Liverpool to bridge the gap.

Perhaps that contributed to the unfortunate circumstances that would unfold for the welterweight champion as soon as the fight began.

The reigning WBO champion hit the canvas three times within the first minute of opening round therefore handing the 22-year-old Mexican the belt.

As it happened, instead of building his reputation as a champion, Loughran retired from professional boxing after having defended his title five times.

Source: Jorge Cáceres/YouTube

Matthew Macklin v “Yori Boy” Campas (22 March 2008)

On paper, Macklin faced a formidable task in the National Stadium in Dublin but in reality, the Mexican was a fighter well past his prime.

Having previously fought the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Irishman John Duddy and Felix Trinidad, who he lost to for the first time in his 57th fight, Campas was the ideal challenge for Macklin as he went about making his name in the middleweight division.

After a 10-round bout, the Tipperary native won by unanimous decision although his opponent disagreed with the result and continues to do so to this day.

Since the fight, Macklin has fought for world titles on three occasions without any success and the former world champion progressed to notch over 100 wins in his career.

Astonishingly, the 44-year old Mexican was fighting up until this year before retiring in January, while Macklin retired a few months later.

Source: Vizathas/YouTube

– An earlier version of this article stated that Matthew Macklin fought for a world title on two occasions; in fact, he fought on three occasions.

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