5. Daniel Zaragoza
Record: 55-8-3 with 28 knockouts
Years Active: 1980-1997
Title Reign: February 29, 1988-April 23, 1990, June 14, 1991-March 20, 1992, November 6, 1995-September 6, 1997 (WBC)
Style: Gritty volume-punching southpaw
Strengths: Boxing skills during youth, unshakable courage and unruffled ring generalship as a veteran.
Why Is He Ranked? Following a brief reign at bantamweight, Zaragoza remained in the 122-pound title picture for the better part of a decade. He made the most of his talents, overcoming countless cuts to accumulate 11 defenses in three reigns. “The Mouse” fought just about everyone of note and beat most of them despite brittle scar tissue, defensive liabilities and average punching power. His final title reign was the most improbable of all as the 37 year old became the oldest to win a share of the title and scored four consecutive upsets to keep it until he was three months shy of 40. Zaragoza’s Indian Summer eventually catapulted him into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Best Opponents at 122: Jeff Fenech (L 10), Mike Ayala (KO 7), Carlos Zarate (KO 10), Seung Hoon Lee (D 12), Paul Banke (W 12, KO by 9, W 12), Frankie Duarte (KO 10), Chan Young Park (W 12), Kiyoshi Hatanaka (W 12), Thierry Jacob (L 12), Tracy Harris Patterson (D 12, KO by 7), Hector Acero Sanchez (D 12, W 12), Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (KO 11, W 12), Tsuyoshi Harada (KO 7), Wayne McCullough (W 12), Erik Morales (KO by 11)
Also Faced in Other Divisions: Harold Petty (L 10, L 12), Freddie Jackson (WDQ 7), Miguel Lora (L 12), Jose Sanabria (W 10)