Genaro "Chicanito" Hernandez, the two-time junior lightweight titleholder from Los Angeles, lost a three-year battle with cancer on Tuesday, according to several reports. He was 45.
Hernandez, one of the best-liked figures in boxing, contracted a rare form of cancer that normally affects children – rhabdomyosarcoma – in 2008. He was treated and went into remission in 2009 but the cancer returned.
On Friday, he stopped chemotherapy and his loved ones did what they could to make him comfortable.
Hernandez (38-2-1, 17 knockouts) was one of the most-successful fighters in the world in the 1990s. He was known more for his superb boxing skills than his power but stopped Daniel Londas in 1991 in France to win the vacant WBA 130-pound title, his first.
He successfully defended the belt seven times over the next three years, one of the more-dominating runs of the decade.
Hernandez got his wish when he faced hometown rival Oscar De La Hoya for the WBO lightweight title in 1995, but having broken his nose during training, he had to quit after six rounds.
However, he won a second junior lightweight title – the WBC version – when he defeated the great Azumah Nelson by a split decision in 1997. He successfully defended two times before he lost his belt to Floyd Mayweather Jr. when his corner stopped the fight after eight rounds.
Hernandez never fought again. In retirement, he became a broadcaster.
He is survived by his wife, Liliana, and two children.