At a time when the Heavyweight division was slowly fading as the premiere division the Welterweight division was becoming the division to watch. And just before the inclusion of such welterweights as Roberto Duran Tommy Hearns , Wilfredo Benitez and Sugar Ray Leonard there was Pipino Cuevas.
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 Ángel 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.
One of 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.
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 Durán, 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 Benítez, Carlos Palomino, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Durán, although his reign had nearly come to an end as Leonard, Benítez, 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.
Smallthoughts : Old School Tuesday spotlights …Pipino Cuevas.
|Wins by KO||31|