Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


Born on this day: Lupe Pintor

Former WBC bantamweight champ Lupe Pintor was built to box and fight the 15-round distance.
Fighters Network

He was a devastating puncher-boxer who demolished his opponents and earned belts in two divisions – and wrestled with the ghost of one of his foes for the rest of his life.

José Guadalupe Pintor Guzmán was born on 13 April 1955 in Cuajimalpa de Morelos, just outside Mexico City. After a troubled family life during his childhood, he ran away in his early teens and made a living in the tough streets of Mexico City, eventually learning how to box just to defend his ice cream stall from thieves and competitors.

He made his pro debut only a few days after his 19th birthday, stopping Manuel Vazquez in two rounds in a scheduled ten-rounder. As rare as this may seem today, this unusual distance for a debuting fighter became the norm for Pintor, who would never schedule a bout for less than 10 rounds during the rest of his 72-fight career.

For the most part of it, however, the scheduled distance was never an issue.

By the time Pintor had his first title shot against future legend Carlos Zarate he had already built a reputation as a puncher-boxer with a devastating, relentless, two-fisted attack and an ice-cold stare that could freeze a tiger on its tracks.

Pintor defeated Zarate by split decision and began his own reign of terror in the bantamweight division, capped by a moment that defined his career and the rest of his life when he stopped Welsh contender Johnny Owen in the 12th round of a scheduled 15-round title defense. Badly beaten throughout the bout, Owen went down twice in that round and was unconscious after the final knockdown, remaining in that state for the next two months until his tragic death in November of 1980 due to the injuries sustained in that fight.

Pintor made four more defenses of his bantamweight belt before making the jump to 122 to face the best ever in the history of that division. In one of the most classic clashes in the storied rivalry of Mexico vs Puerto Rico, Pintor succumbed to the power of Wilfredo Gomez in 14 rounds.

Three years after that loss, Pintor defeated Juan Meza to finally win the WBC junior featherweight title that he had failed to wrestle away from Gomez, but then lost it to Thailand’s Samart Payakaroon in his first defense the following year in a fight in which he failed to make weight, making the title available only to his foe to win.

Pintor retired after that fight only to make a comeback in 1994 at his thirty-eight years of age, scoring only two wins in seven fights and finally calling it a day in 1995 with a final record of 56-14-2 (42 knockouts).

Throughout his life, the death of Jonny Owen weighed heavily on Pintor. He continued boxing only after Owen’s family encouraged him to do so. He would later travel to Owen’s hometown of Merthyr Tydfil to unveil a statue honoring his fallen comrade.

He currently owns and operates a boxing academy in Mexico City.

Pintor was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016.


Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He has also written for, and many other magazines, websites, newspapers and outlets since 1993. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He has won two first-place awards in the BWAA’s annual writing contest, and he is the moderator of The Ring’s Women’s Ratings Panel. He served as copy editor for the second era of The Ring en Español (2018-2020) and is currently a writer and editor for