Lee Groves

10: Eligible Fighters Not on IBHOF Ballot

Lupe Pintor, 1974-1995, 56-14-2 (42 KOs)

Titles: WBC bantamweight (June 3, 1979-June 3, 1982, vacated), WBC super bantamweight (August 18, 1985-January 18, 1986)

First Full Year of IBHOF Eligibility: 2001

Pintor’s overall record is deceptive because four of his losses occurred before he won the bantamweight title from Carlos Zarate and five more happened during an ill-fated comeback in 1994-95 following an eight-year layoff. When Pintor was at his peak he more than lived up to the high standards his Mexican predecessors set. His hook to the liver was a killer and his doggedness during combat was difficult to shake. After losing his first chance at a 122-pound belt in legendary fashion against the equally legendary Wilfredo Gomez, Pintor summoned a spectacular, if brief, renaissance by capturing a second divisional title three years later.

Points in His Favor: Pintor racked up eight defenses during his three-year bantamweight reign, which compares favorably to 118-pound Hall of Famers of recent vintage. Jeff Chandler and Zarate had nine, Eder Jofre eight, Ruben Olivares four in two reigns and Fighting Harada four. His title-fight opposition also rates well: Alberto “Superfly” Sandoval (KO 12) was 32-3 at the time he fought Pintor while Eijiro Murata (D 15) was 16-0-1, Johnny Owen (a tragic KO 12) was 25-1-1, future titlist and previous conqueror Albert Davila (W 15) was 40-6, Jovito Rengifo (KO 8) was 28-2 and future 122-pound king Seung-Hoon Lee was 21-3. Other excellent opponents Pintor defeated include onetime WBA counterpart Jorge Lujan (W 10), Antonio Beccera (W 10, the only man to defeat Salvador Sanchez) and title challengers Willie “Birdlegs” Jensen (KO 7) and Orlando Amores (KO 1).

If his bantamweight reign wasn’t enough, he made his mark four pounds higher – doing so after suffering a career-threatening motorcycle accident that forced him to vacate his 118-pound belt. His war with Gomez (KO by 14) is arguably the greatest 122-pound title fight ever waged and one of the contenders to unseat Gomez-Pintor was Pintor’s sensational upset over then-WBC champ Juan “Kid” Meza (W 12).

What Hurts His Cause: Voters who look at a fighter’s entire career instead of just his peak will point to the 14 losses, one of which was a non-title cut-induced TKO to the 17-13-1 Manuel Vazquez that occurred during his time as 118-pound king. In his final title fight against Samart Payakaroon, Pintor weighed three pounds over the 122-pound limit and lost his belt on the scales. Worse yet, he fought without his usual fire before being stopped in five. He also was listless in his eight-round TKO loss to fringe contender Adrian Arreola and lost by 10th round TKO to Billy White in his first fight after the Meza victory.

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