WAIL!... The CBZ Journal
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||Alfredo Urbina, Unsung Lightweight Legend
By Sam Dymond
Alfredo Urbina was the epitome of versatility. Guys like Urbina interest me. The sort of fighter that happened to be around in eras fighting in a division full of guys that end up being very good, great or legendary fighters. Alfredo Urbina beat a lot of the best fighters around, and also lost to a few, in a career that today, in my opinion would have culminated in a title. Urbina would beat the modern lightweights, like Castillo, Mayweather, Spadafora and Johnston, just on the fact that he fought more, and against better opposition.
After going 14-1-1 in his first two years, he felt a need for a class jump, and took on highly rated Cuban speedster Doug Vaillant. In a good struggle, Urbina was nowhere near experienced enough to edge the smooth boxing Cuban, and was out hustled. 3 fights 1-1-1 later, Urbina went to Cuba to take on another super Cuban, Angel Garcia, and like in his bout with Vaillant in Havana, lost another decision, and it looked a case of robbery. All in the name of experience however! And in his next fight, he defeated Baby Vasquez over 12 in a Mexican lightweight title tilt. The ruling governing body changed this to a No-Contest for some strange reason, and Urbina, highly composed in a rematch battered Baby to an 8th round knockout defeat to take his title. Three fights later, Urbina rubbed out veteran and legend Lauro Salas with a 6th round knockout, yet 2 fights later he was decisioned by another Mexican lightweight legend Carlos Hernandez which slowed his ascension a little, but having never been stopped, and putting in impressive showings all the time, Urbina, to many looked like a future champ. Again, another couple of fights and victories later, he ventured far away from his bullrings at home, to the rough and cold American city of Philadelphia, in which he was outdone by local lightweight Len Matthews.
Back in Mexico he beat Andres Garcia by decision over 10 to up his record to 25-5-2, and in a rematch with Cuban Angel Garcia, he knocked out the Cuban in the 9th round. His next 6 fights were unimpressive, going 1-1-4- albeit against world class opposition, going a loss and a draw with Sugar Ramos, a decision to Carlos Hernandez again, another points loss to Len Matthews and a decision to Manuel Alvarez. For the first time he stepped up to defend his Mexican lightweight title, for the third time against Vaquez. He lost a decision in 12. His career constantly being derailed, the resilient Urbina went to the Philippines and went 5-1 with the best lightweights available, before returning to a big fight with local prospect Jose "Mantequilla" Napoles in Mexico City. The Cuban Napoles, was constantly troubled by the rugged Urbina's brawling and swarming tactics, and found little room for his counterpunching skills. The decision went to Urbina, and he looked ready to head for higher reaches.
It looked as such when he was matched with lightweight legend Joe "Old Bones" Brown. Urbina was all over the legend, yet the wily Brown had enough tricks to trouble Urbina at times. The fight was constantly changing tempo yet Brown in the end was outworked, and accordingly, the judges awarded Alfredo Urbina with a unanimous decision. Victories over top rated Tony Perez and L.C. Morgan boosted him even further, and he seemed on the verge of gaining a title shot at world lightweight champ Carlos Ortiz. This was almost a reality but he stepped in the ring with previous victim Jose Napoles for a rematch. Napoles had improved since then, and it showed, he stunned all of Mexico, scoring a resounding first round knockout of Urbina. Urbina's career now looked in tatters, yet he persevered. He won, lost, and drew some, namely a decision to Ismael Laguna, and a draw over 10 to Carlos Hernandez again. His record stood now at 47-17-3 so the modern records tell us. In 1967, he won the Mexican lightweight title again, yet lost it in his first defence to Art Lomeli, which was followed by two decision losses to the legendary Nicolino Locche back to back. Urbina's career now was really in effect over as a real top-flight fighter, and a second round kayo loss to Carlos Hernandez in their fourth fight underscored this. He fought on and won most, losing a couple, and officially it is not certain of his official retirement date, and final record, though I will state what is known.
Alfredo Urbina, Mexican 135-140 lbs
W- 55 (29) L- 21(2) D- 4, total 81 bouts.
The careers of Alfredo Urbina and his contemporaries, great fighters such as Carlos Hernandez, Angel "Robinson" Garcia, Doug Vaillant, and Baby Vasquez are ones that today would reap million dollar paydays. Those guys were tougher, and better fighters too, than the lightweights of today, but without title belts around their waist, they are forgotten in the rags of time. Urbina, and the others, are universally by boxing experts as better fighters than Julio Cesar Chavez to name one contemporary Latin great. So they should be.
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