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Born on this day: Carlos Zarate

Fighters Network
23
May

It takes a very special amount of power and skill to be named among the greatest boxer-punchers in Mexican history. This guy has both.

The great Carlos Zarate turns 71 years old today.

Jesus Carlos Zarate Serna was born on May 23, 1951 in the tough neighborhood of Tepito, in Mexico City.

After a 33-3 (30 knockouts) amateur career, Zarate made his professional debut in 1970 with a knockout win over Luis Castañeda to kick off a streak that included 23 wins, all by stoppage. After Victor Ramirez managed to finish his fight against Zarate while still on his feet, Zarate embarked in his second reign of terror with no less than 28 straight knockout wins.



Finally, his big night came in May of1975 when Zarate was matched with defending WBC bantamweight titlist Rodolfo Martinez in Los Angelez. True to his nature as a KO artist, Zarate stopped Martinez in eight rounds to lift his first title belt.

One year and three defenses later, Zarate was matched with fellow Mexican and WBA titlist Alfonzo Zamora, in the “Battle of the Z Boys.”

In a smart move that many fighters would be wise to follow, Zarate and Zamora faced in a non-title 10-round bout to avoid sanctioning fees. The result was a packed house in Inglewood’s Olympic Auditorium in April of 1977, and a wild fight that started going in Zamora’s direction until an untimely intervention by a bystander allowed Zarate to recover and dish out some punishment of his own and finish Zamora off in the fourth round to earn recognition as the best bantamweight of his era.

Zarate went on to defend his WBC belt five times in only one year, with all his wins coming by way of knockout, until he finally decided to move to junior featherweight for a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico showdown. In a barnburner, he was stopped by fellow all-time great Wilfredo Gomez in five rounds, and officially started the final stage of his career.

Less than one year after that fight, he lost a split decision to another future Hall of Famer in Lupe Pintor, dropping his belt for good. A five-year hiatus ensued, but after a dozen stoppage wins into his comeback Zarate suffered back-to-back losses to Jeff Fenech and Daniel Zaragoza in two title bouts, and called it quits.

Zarate retired with a record of 66 wins and 4 losses (all four of them in title bouts), with 63 wins by knockout. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

 

Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He has also written for HBO.com, ESPN.com 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 RingTV.com.

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