Home Boxing News Leonel Hernandez; Almost A Champion.

Leonel Hernandez; Almost A Champion.

About five years ago I did an article titled “Boxing’s Almost Champions”. It included Jerry Quarry,Yaqui Lopez,”Bad” Bennie Briscoe,Armando Muniz and others. It was based on my humble opinion that these boxers would have won titles in today’s four governing bodies scenario. One of a few boxers I missed was Venezuela’s Leonel Hernandez. In a solid 56 fight career he challenged for a title no less then five times. This was back when the WBA and WBC split the title pie. Hernandez drew in one title attempt and lost a split decision in another. So close but yet so far…

Hernandez was not a big hitter but he was extremely clever and durable. He turned pro in 1969 and in 1971 he lost a ten rounder in Caracas to undefeated Esteban DeJesus. In 1973 he outpointed WBA featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel in a non title fight. He would drop a ten rounder to Rigoberto Riasco but then defeat the crafty Bert Nabalatan over ten rounds.

In 1975 Hernandez challenged the great Alexis Arguello for the WBA featherweight title. Alexis won in the eighth round. Later in the year he would meet WBC junior lightweight champion Alfredo Escalera. This bout ended in a fifteen round draw. In 1977 Leonel would get his third crack at a crown chellenging WBA junior lightweight titleholder Sammy Serrano. The slick Serrano would win a comfortable decision over Hernandez. In 1980 Hernandez would take on Yasutsune Uehara who had upset Serrano by knockout. Leonel lost a hotly disputed split decision. In one last grasp at the brass ring Hernandez would again meet Serrano in 1981. Uehara had lost the title back to Serrano and again Serrano proved too slick for Hernandez. Leonel lost his next fight and retired in 1983.

In 56 bouts Hernandez had a fine 45-10-1 record against mostly top shelf competition. He won 25 by KO and was only halted twice. In today’s muddled championship format I have little doubt that Hernandez would have captured a portion of a title.


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