Rubén Olivares: Señor Knockout
By Emmanuel Rivera, RRT
Wed, 29 Sep 2021
Boxing fans, friends and foes dubbed him El Púas.
‘Tis because of his pin-point accuracy, ala barbs of a porcupine, in the roped square.
For boxing aficionados, north and south of the border, however, he will always be known as “Mr. Knock Out”.
Ruben Olivares Avila was born on January 14, 1947, in the Distrito Federal, Ciudad Mexico and became one of the greatest pugilists.
He etched his name in boxing with a paralyzing left hook to the body and to the head.
In his 88 wins, 78 opponents did not finish the full route.
His 89% knockout ratio includes two separate streaks of 22 and 21 KO’s, respectively.
On August 22, 1969, Olivares’ was sporting a 51-0-1 (49 KO) record when he got his first shot at the WBA bantamweight title. He faced Lionel Rose of Australia at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Olivares did not leave the fight’s outcome to the ringside judges, and finished Rose in round five.
A victorious defense against Alan Rudkin happened before his fabled trilogy against Mexican compatriot and rival Jesus “Chucho” Castillo.
On April 18, 1970, Olivares defended the 118-pound crown(s) against Castillo. Olivares rose from the canvas and later scored a 15-round decision over Castillo to retain the WBA/WBC and The Ring bantamweight titles.
On October 16, 1970, Olivares lost the crown(s) to Castillo in their rematch via 14-round TKO.
On April 2, 1971, Olivares regained the crown(s) from Castillo via 15-round UD.
Olivares lost the world bantamweight title for good to Rafael Herrera by an 8-round knockout, on March 19,1972.
Of note, Olivares and Castillo would meet again for the final time on April 3, 1971, with Castillo as featherweight champion. Olivares once again rose from the floor and recaptured the featherweight title.
***WBA Feather Championship***
Ruben Olivares’ quest for a second world title in as many divisions started with a win over Walter Seeley. He met future titlist Bobby Chacon in the first fight of their trilogy, for the NABF featherweight belt. Olivares knocked out Chacon in 9 rounds.
He captured the WBA title on July 9, 1974, with a seventh-round KO of Zensuke Utagawa.
In his first defense on November 23, 1974, Alexis Arguello stopped him in the 13th round after a slam bang affair in Inglewood, California.
***WBC Feather Championship***
On June 6, 1975, Olivares again met his rival WBC Featherweight champion Chacon and finished Bobby in short fashion, a TKO 2 for his 86th win.
Olivares lost on his very next defense against David Kotey on September 20, 1975.
Thereafter, Olivares fought eighteen more times but did not contend again for the crown.
Bobby Chacon beat Ruben Olivares by unanimous decision in ten rounds on August 29, 1977, to complete their trilogy.
Ruben Olivares Avila remains as one of Mexico’s favorite sons.
He is one of seven fighters in the history of boxing since 1892 who won the bantamweight and featherweight crowns.
• WBA bantamweight champion---August 22, 1969 - October 16, 1970
• The Ring, Lineal and Undisputed-Unified Bantamweight champion---August 22, 1969 - October 16, 1970
- Preceded by Lionel Rose and succeeded by Jesus “Chucho” Castillo
• WBC bantamweight champion---April 2, 1971 - March 19, 1972
• The Ring, Lineal and Undisputed-Unified bantamweight champion ---April 2, 1971 - March 19, 1972
- Preceded by Jesus “Chucho” Castillo and succeeded by Rafael Herrera
• WBA Featherweight Champion---July 9, 1974 - November 23, 1974
- Fought Zensuke Utagawa for vacant title and succeeded by Alexis Argüello
• WBC Featherweight Champion---June 20, 1975 - September 20, 1975
- Preceded by Bobby Chacon and succeeded by David Kotey
• Enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Syracuse, New York) in 1991
• Rated #1 Bantamweight - along with Carlos Zárate - by the Associated Press in 1999
• Holder of two of the longest knockout streaks in boxing, 22 and 21 on separate occasions (89% KO ratio)
• Olivares dabbled in acting with 12 movies to his credit. A 1984 film based on his life called Las Glorias del Gran Púas, boasts of an all-star cast.
Disclaimer: All photos in this article are based on public posts and known record books like The Ring Boxing Record and various media outlets. The collages are intended to highlight the career of boxing great Ruben Olivares Avila. Credit and thanks to the owners of the said photos and illustrations.
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