Don Fraser (L) & Russell Peltz
Former world bantamweight champion.
Manuel Ortiz had an inauspicious start to his professional career, but matured into one of the great bantamweights. He suffered nine losses in his first two years as a pro, but this was a misleading statistic as Ortiz was fighting men of the calibre of Lou Salica, Small Montana, Jackie Jurich and Richie Lemos.
Born the son of Mexican immigrants in Corona, California on July 2, 1916, Ortiz turned professional in 1938. He gained valuable experience from those early defeats and a winning run earned him a shot at world bantamweight champion Lou Salica in August 1942. Ortiz won on points and made 15 successful defences until losing on a decision to Harold Dade in January 1947.
But two months later the title was back in his possession when he beat Dade on points. He made three more successful defences over the next three years, but often lost in non-title matches when his motivation was obviously not that strong.
His reign as champion finally came to an end when he dropped a points decision to Vic Toweel in Johnannesburg in May 1950. He fought on for a few more years and eventually retired in 1955.
Manuel Ortiz: Fights 127,Wins 96 Losses 28 Draws 3 (Knockouts 49).
By Mark G. Butcher
Former world bantamweight and WBA/WBC featherweight champion.
Ruben Olivares boxed for the love of the game. Unlike most fighters, the Mexican banger came from an affluent background, but fought because he enjoyed boxing. In the ring, he was a devastating puncher and he soon became the idol of the knowledgeable Mexican fight fans.
Born in Mexico City on January 14, 1947, Olivares turned pro in 1965 and it was soon apparent that the teenager was a phenomenal puncher. He won his first 22 fights by knockout and built up a highly impressive 43-0-1 (41) record before knocking out contender Joe Medel in November 1968.
Seven straight knockouts followed until Olivares was matched with world bantamweight champion Lionel Rose in Inglewood in August 1969. He crushed the gifted, pipe-smoking Aborigine in five rounds and was also blistering in his next defence, brushing aside Alan Rudkin in just two before gaining a 15 round points success over compatriot Chucho Castillo in April 1970.
Castillo then beat Olivares on cuts in their October rematch and thus handed Ruben his first pro defeat in 61 contests. But Olivares gained revenge on points the following April before losing on an eighth round knockout in his third defence to Rafael Herrera in March 1972.
He came back in July 1974 as a featherweight and won the vacant WBA title in his new weight class with a seventh round knockout of Japanese Zensuke Utagawa. But his success was short-lived when the great Alexis Arguello knocked him out in the 13th round of his first defence just four months later.
Olivares was still immensely popular and he soon gained another opportunity, halting Bobby Chacon in two rounds to win the WBC featherweight title in June 1975. But, again, he couldn’t hold onto it for long and, three months later, he lost his new title on points to Ghanaian David Kotey.
He enjoyed mixed success after that, falling in 12 rounds in a WBA featherweight title bid against Eusebio Pedroza in July 1979 and embarking on several mini comebacks throughout the eighties without much success, lastly in 1988.
Ruben Olivares: Fights 104, Wins 88 Losses 13 Draws 3 (Knockouts 78).
By Mark G. Butcher