Lee Groves

10: Best Over-40 Fighters

5. Kid Azteca: Record after age 40 – 25-1-2 (22)

Born Luis Villanueva Paramo in Mexico City, Kid Azteca never fought for a world title but amassed a record that ranks among the very best. Thanks to Bob Yalen’s research many – but not all – of the holes in Azteca’s record have been filled and what is there is simply eye-popping – 192 victories, 46 losses, 12 draws and 114 knockouts, most of which were produced by a pile driving left hook. According to an Associated Press obituary, Azteca held the Mexican welterweight title an astonishing 17 years (1932-1949) and defended it more than 60 times before voluntarily giving it up to move up in weight. Along the way, Azteca met – and sometimes defeated – Hall of Famers Ceferino Garcia (W 10, KO 8, KO by 5, L 10), Cocoa Kid (W 10, D 10, W 10, NC 10), Fritzie Zivic (L 10, L 10, L 10, KO 5) and Sammy Angott (L 10) but against just about everyone else he was fearsomely potent.

There also are discrepancies regarding when and what age Kid Azteca began his pro career. Most sources list his birth date as June 21, 1913 but the San Antonio Express reported in 1944 that his passport revealed a June 21, 1917 date. The desire to begin making money would explain his desire to lie about his age, but for the purposes of this story the 1913 birth date that has been more widely reported will be applied here.

Unlike most fighters over 40, there wasn’t a dramatic drop-off in terms of results. After taking 11 months off after losing a 10 rounder to Juan Padilla, Azteca promptly went 18-0-1 (15) in his next 19 fights. A 10-round draw against Augustin Vega was the only blemish during this stretch and he enjoyed knockout strings of four, seven and three – most within five rounds. His only loss as an over-40 fighter came against Joe Borrell, who stopped the 42-year-old in five rounds on March 18, 1956. Undeterred, Azteca finished his career by going 7-0-1, with all of his victories coming by knockout. The 47-year-old Azteca’s final fight was a first round stoppage over Alfonso Malacara on February 3, 1961 in Veracruz, Mexico, as good an ending as any fighter could ever want – young or old. 

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