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Boxing's Best Jr. Featherweights of All Time

Updated on August 5, 2017

Photos of Great Junior Bantamweight Boxrs

Erik Morales popping Manny Pacquiao In their first bout. Morales won one out of three. Paquiao won the last two fights by knockout.
Erik Morales popping Manny Pacquiao In their first bout. Morales won one out of three. Paquiao won the last two fights by knockout. | Source
Marco Antonio Barrera tags Erik Morales in their third encounter. Barrera won two out of the three contests.
Marco Antonio Barrera tags Erik Morales in their third encounter. Barrera won two out of the three contests. | Source
Wilfredo Gomez is celebrating another knockout win. He is one of the hardest punchers in history.
Wilfredo Gomez is celebrating another knockout win. He is one of the hardest punchers in history. | Source
Wilfredo Vazquez was a textbook puncher who had good footwork and timing. He used his smarts and skills inside the squared circle.
Wilfredo Vazquez was a textbook puncher who had good footwork and timing. He used his smarts and skills inside the squared circle. | Source
Arturo Gatti battles it out with Tracy Harris Patterson. Gatti beat Patterson by 12 round decision to win the Jr. Lightweight crown.
Arturo Gatti battles it out with Tracy Harris Patterson. Gatti beat Patterson by 12 round decision to win the Jr. Lightweight crown. | Source

Legendary Junior Featherweights

1. Wilfredo Gomez: Gomez was the Junior Featherweight Champion from 1977 until 1983 at which point he vacated the title and he never lost in this weight class. he retired with 44 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw and an astonishing 42 wins were by knock out. Among those he fought were, Lupe Pintor, Nicky Perez, Ruben Valdez and Juan Laporte. He could finish opponents with either hand to the head or body and was a relentless stalker. This guy is known as one of the hardest punchers, pound for pound, in boxing history. Gomez was a fan's dream come true because he went for the early stoppage the entire bout.

2. Erik Morales: Morales beat the legendary Daniel Zaragoza for the Junior Featherweight Crown and defended it nine times. Among others he beat, Marco Antonio Barrera, Junior Jones and Wayne McCullough. Morales like Gomez never lost at this weight class. He was a boxer- puncher who loved to fight on the inside banging both to the head and body. El Terrible had an iron chin and he took on all comers ducking Nobody. Morales left the sport with a mark of: 52-9 with 36 knockout wins on his docket. Morales also won titles as a featherweight and as a junior lightweight.

3. Marco Antonio Barrera: Barrera won the Junior Featherweight Crown two separate times making a total of 10 defenses in the process. Among the great fighters he fought were Kennedy McKinney, Junior Jones, Eric Morales and Daniel Jemenez. Barrera transformed himself into a boxer late in his career but at this point he was a brawler with a fantastic left hook to the body. Barrera retired from prizefighting with a mark of: 66-7 with 44 wins coming by way of knockout.

4. Kennedy McKinney: He was a 2 time Featherweight Champion. He held the title 3 straight years and he came back from a knockdown to win the Championship from Welcome Ncita. He defended the title a total of 5 times and knocked out Rudy Zavala in one of his defenses. He had a solid jab and superb boxing skills especially with his footwork. McKinney retired with a record of: 36-6-1 with 19 knockout wins hi credit.

5. Wilfredo Vasquez: Vasquez was Junior Featherweight Champion from 1992-1995. He retired with a record of 56 wins, 9 losses and 41 knockouts. Among the fighters he fought were, Orlando Canizales, Israel Contreras and Yuichi Kasai. He had good footwork and solid fundamentals to go with great conditioning which often seen him get stronger as is matches progressed.

6. Tracy Harris Patterson: Patterson was the Champion from 1992-1994 and he beat Thierry Jacob for the title. He defended the title 4 times. He has a career record of 63 wins, 8 losses and 2 draws with 43 knockouts. He knocked out Ed Hopson and also fought the legendary Arturro Gatti. Patterson is the adopted son of heavyweight legend Floyd Patterson.

7. Israel Vasquez: Vasquez unified the Junior Featherweight Titles and held belts in this weight class from 2004-2008. His career fight total was 44 wins, 5 losses with 32 knockouts on his resume. He is best known for his four wars with Rafael Marquez but he went toe to toe with other top boxers as well.

8. Vuyani Bungu: He held the title for over 4 years making 13 title defenses. He beat Jesus Salud and Danny Romero and he beat Kennedy McKinney twice with both times being by unanimous decision. Bungu finished his career with a resume that reads: 39-5 with 19 knockouts. Bungu was an over achiever and he was more than willing to slug it out with bigger foes.

9. Oscar Larios: He had 2 different title reigns. The first title reign, he made seven defenses of the title, beating Wayne McCullough twice. He was a brawler who possessed a great chin and a good jab. Although he wasn't a technical boxer he could cut off the ring and wear opponents down. Larios wrapped up his professional boxing career with a record of: 63-7-1 with 39 big knockouts on his ledger.

10. Daniel Zaragoza: He is a 3 time Junior Featherweight Champion who has 55 wins and 8 losses in his career. He knocked out Carlos Zarate and beat Paul Banke, Frankie Duarte and he also has the distinguishing record of being the oldest Champion in Junior Featherweight History. Win or lose, Zaragoza always gave his all and showed heart even when he was losing bouts.

Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez

Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez met four times in the squared circle. All four were bloody wars and two of them are instant classics for fight buffs.
Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez met four times in the squared circle. All four were bloody wars and two of them are instant classics for fight buffs. | Source

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Erik Morales: Greatest Hits

Marco Antonio Barrera: Greatest Hits

The Baby Faced Assassin's Temper

Marco Antonio Barrera has hit Kennedy McKinney and Erik Morales at press conferences. He also slammed Naseem Hamed's head into a turnbuckle. He never puts up with any mess and his anger is usually controlled once he is in the squared circle. In his younger days Barrera was hot headed and sometimes fought with abandon.

As he has aged, Barrera has calmed down and used his boxing I.Q. more than his raw power to get the job done inside the ropes. It has helped to prolong his Hall of Fame career.

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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