Home Boxing History Puncher from the Past: Mexico’s Jose Medel

Puncher from the Past: Mexico’s Jose Medel

Born: 19 March 1938 Mexico City
Died: 31 January 2001
Record: 108 fights, 69 wins (44 by KO/TKO) 31 losses, 8 draws
First professional fight: 0n this seventeenth birthday 19 March 1955 (lost on a third round kayo)
Last Fight: 9 June 1974

In a nineteen-year career:
Beat: Dwight Hawkins, Jose “Toluco” Lopez, Danny Kid*, Eloy Sanchez*, Manny Elias, Herman Marquez*, Mitsunori Seki*, Haruo Sakamoto, Ignacio Pina, Sadao Yaoita*, Edmundo Esparza, Fighting Harada** , Manuel Barrios, Walter McGowan*, Jesus Pimental* and Evan Armstrong.
Lost to: Jose Becerra**, Boots Monroe, Danny Kid*, Ignacio Pina, Eloy Sanchez*, Eder Jofre**, Manuel Barrios, Chucho Castillo**, Efren Torres **, Lionel Rose **, Ruben Olivares **, Kazuyoshi Kanazawa *, Royal Kobayashi*
Drew with: Manuel Barrios,
** Past/future world champions
*World title challengers

Highlights/ Notes:
-His win in October 1958 over Ross Padilla was Medel’s first fight outside Mexico.
-On 1 August 1959 he outpointed Jose “Toluco” Lopez to win the Mexican bantamweight title. Lopez, a charismatic and exciting fighter, was idolised in Mexico. Medel’s popularity plummeted with Mexican boxing fans for beating their idol. He defeated Lopez again in November 1960 which only served to cement his unpopular status. He had ten fights in Japan and was more popular in Japan than he was back in Mexico.. When Joe died former NABA bantam champion Raul Macias said that Joe’s death would sadden Mexican fans but Japanese fans would feel the loss even deeper.
-18 August 1960 Medal lost on a tenth round kayo against unbeaten Eder Jofre in a NABA title eliminator. A fight Jofre described as the hardest of his career. This fight is rated as one of the greatest bantamweight fights of all time. After seven brutal rounds Jofre was beginning to tire and Medel won the eighth and ninth rounds. At the end of the ninth round Jofre recalled “ I was very tired and I even told my father that I wouldn’t be able to go back to the tenth round”. “Then he told me that Medel was dead and that I would win the fight.” Jofre knocked Medel out in the tenth round and went on to win the world title and knocked Medel in six rounds in a title defence.

– Medel had his first fight in Japan in August 1961 knocking out future world featherweight title challenger Mitsunori Seki
-He scored two more win in Japan and on September 1963 in Tokyo he faced future world flyweight and bantamweight champion Fighting Harada. Again, this was total war with Harada launching ferocious attacks in round after round walking through Medel’s punches trying to overwhelm Medel. In the sixth a right from Medel shook Harada and he was knocked down three times and the fight was stopped. Medel was the first boxer to knockdown Harada and the only other time Harada was beaten inside the distance was in his last professional fight in 1970. Beating Harada led to Medel becoming a huge favourite in Japan. In January 1967 Medel challenged Harada for the world bantamweight title but lost on points.

-After 89 fights in 18 years most of them at the top level and many of the early ones ferocious wars in the cockpit of the famed Arena Coliseo time caught up with Joe. His career tailed off from 1967 onwards and after a run of five losses in his last six fights he retired. His record is a veritable who’s who of a golden age of bantamweight boxing. Thankfully he looked after his money sensibly and had a happy retirement before dying of cancer at the age of 62.