Isidro "Pipino" Cuevas Gonzalez (born December 27, 1957 in Santo
Tomas de los Platanos, Mexico) is a Mexican former world champion
boxer at the welterweight division.
Cuevas was inducted into
both the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and the World Boxing Hall
Cuevas turned professional at age
14; he won only seven of his first twelve bouts but eventually put
together an eight bout winning streak before losing to Andy Price.
On July 17, 1976, he received a shot at the WBA welterweight title
against champion Angel Espada. Cuevas pulled off an upset victory
by knocking Espada to the canvas three times in the second round.
Cuevas then defended his title against Shoji Tsujimoto.
the greatest wins of his career was against Argentinian Miguel Angel
Campanino, who boasted an impressive record (84-4-4), including a
thirty-two fight winning streak. Once again, Pipino disposed of his
challenger before the end of the second round.
On June 8, 1977,
he faced veteran Clyde Gray who had only been stopped twice in his
entire career which included fifty-eight wins. Yet again, Cuevas pulled
off another second round knockout. A few months later, Cuevas returned
to the ring for a rematch against Espada. This time Cuevas defeated
Espada in the eleventh round after he sustained a broken jaw. On March
4, 1978, he disposed of Harold Weston in the ninth round after Weston
also sustained a broken jaw like Cuevas' previous challenger. Cuevas
then defeated former champion Billy Backus in one round. On September
9, 1978, he defeated hometown favorite Pete Ranzany (40-2-1) in Sacramento,
California via a second round knockout. He defeated Scott Clark (28-1-0)
in another second round knockout. Cuevas' next title defense went
the distance in a unanimous decision win against the durable Randy
Shields (33-5-1). On December 8, 1979, he faced Espada for a third
time, stopping him in the tenth round. Cuevas then defeated South
African national champion Harold Volbrecht by fifth round knockout.
Loss of Title
Cuevas finally lost his title in 1980 to the undefeated
and up and coming hometown hero Thomas Hearns in Detroit. The much
taller and lankier Hearns was able to use his reach to his advantage
as he kept Cuevas at a distance and knocked him out in the second
round. Cuevas' talent began to decline after that loss; the most notable
opponent he faced was Roberto Duran, who stopped him in the fourth
round in the spring of 1983. He also lost to former world title challenger
Jun Sok-Hwang and future or former world champions Jorge Vaca and
Lupe Aquino before finally retiring in 1989.
Pipino Cuevas finished
with a career record of 35 wins, 15 losses, 0 draws, with 31 knockouts.
He fought during a period when an unusual number of accomplished welterweights
were active: Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, Carlos Palomino,
Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran, although his reign had nearly come
to an end as Leonard, Benitez, Hearns, and Duran emerged as welterweight
champions. Cuevas successfully defended his welterweight title eleven
times over a four year span. During his reign as champion, Cuevas
fought the best opposition available to him. In total, the opponents
he faced throughout his career had a combined record of 505-70-29.
In 2003, The Ring listed Cuevas as number thirty-one on their list
of the 100 greatest punchers of all time. In 2002, Cuevas became a
member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
is the owner of a restaurant and a security company in Mexico City.
At one point of his career, he was also the owner of a famos sports
and luxury car collection, and he was one of the first boxers to sport
a golden tooth. Most people probably know him for his nickname Pipino,
which is far more used to refer to him than Jose by fight commentators
and magazine writers.