Tag Archives: Julio Cesar Chavez

Hecho en Mexico, the story of Cleto Reyes boxing gloves

Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton both wearing Cleto Reyes in their fight at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas

Cleto Reyes are the gloves of choice for punchers, Mexican boxing legends and pound for pound best fighter in the world Manny Pacquaio. What makes Cleto Reyes so special though and how did the brand that’s delivered knockout blows to thousands become the weapon of choice for fistic legends the world over?

The story starts on April 26th 1920 in Mexico City, where Cleto Reyes Castro was born. Facing extreme poverty the young Cleto started working at the age of 12 in a saddlery that manufactured baseball goods.

In 1936, while he was going to elementary school in premises across from the famed “Peralvillo Cozumel” ring, his love for boxing was born. In 1938, Cleto Reyes took part in his first amateur fight, however his performance was
so poor that the crowd rained down coins on him and he decided from that moment on that his future lay outside of the ring. He chose instead to mend the gloves he had used during the fight and this started his career in glove manufacture.

cleto reyes

Subsequently his gloves obtained the approval of the local boxing commission (COMBOX DF), and in 1945 the Cleto Reyes gloves were used in a world championship fight for first time and “La Condesa Arena” was the setting of the fight between the second Mexican Champion Juan Zurita and Ike Williams.

In 1965, he had his first salesman in Los Angeles who began distributing his products in the most important cities of the United States and some other countries, the message spread from there.

In 1970, by which time Don Cleto’s health was ailing, his son Alberto Reyes joined the family company and with his entrepreneurial vision, decided to register the trademark Cleto Reyes in 1975 and to found Industria Reyes S.A. de C.V. in 1979.

What makes a Cleto Reyes glove special? Well that is something hard to define, the brand conjurs up imagines of Mexican warriors of the past – Julio Cesar Chavevz and Erik Morales. Some say they “hit harder” with a Cleto. Prince Naseem Hamed went as far as ordering a custom made pair in goat skin for his fight with Marco Antonio Barrera and having his brother fly on a private jet to collect them! Cleto Reyes boxing gloves seem to say “I am here to fight” and perhaps thats why boxers choose them to this very day.

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In the name of the father – Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr trains for John Duddy

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr trains for John Duddy

‘Son of the legend’ – as ring nicknames go it’s perhaps not the catchiest moniker in boxing, but for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, treading in the footsteps of his father was never going to be easy.

Let us not forget the fighting pedigree Jr is following – Julio Cesar Chavez is a living legend – a god amongst men in his native Mexico, a force of nature and quite possible one of the greatest fighters in history.

So Julio Cesar Chavez Jr had some intense level of expectation on his shoulders when he emerged as a pro boxer. With a career carefully managed and promoted by Top Rank he quickly racked up a seemingly amazing record of 40 straight wins and 1 draw, becoming the mainstay of their Latin Fury boxing cards. Things are never that simple in boxing though and the level of his opposition was more often than not made up of journeymen and has-beens.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Freddie Roach

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Freddie Roach

He was regarded by the wider boxing fraternity as a sideshow, a celebrity boxer perhaps. His work ethic was widely reported to be less than perfect and there were no big name challenges or a true fight that hinted at real talent beyond going through the motions.

That has all started to change of late though…starting with a move to famed trainer Freddie Roach and his first ‘live’ opponent last weekend in Ireland’s John Duddy. Chavez seemed to come of age in this fight and glimpses of a real talent shone through. With Roach’s tutelage and conditioning, Top Rank’s mentorship of his career, and Chavez Snr on hand to give out a lifetimes hard learnt lessons in the ring, the future is suddenly looking more than rosy big name fights await him. At 24-year-old he has the world at his feet – as long as he keeps winning!

Julio Cesar Chavez – El Gran Campeón Mexicano!

Picture a moment in time if you will: it’s the final seconds of the 12th round of a WBC and IBF  light welterweight championship title fight in Las Vegas, 1990.  

Julio Cesar Chavez

El Gran Campeón Mexicano

Eleven savage rounds have already passed and Julio Cesar Chavez is losing the fight, the judges, everyone watching and Chavez himself knows it. All his opponent Meldrick Taylor has to do is remain standing and he wins the belts and more importantly takes Chavez’s unbeaten record of 68 wins away from him.  

With 20 seconds left on the clock Chavez who has been stalking his man doggedly throughout the entire fight connects the right hand he had been waiting to land all night and wipes Taylor out. When Taylor staggers to his feet the referee Richard Steele waves the fight off with Taylor in no state to continue.  

Controversial as the referees decision was, for me Chavez showed the virtues in that fight that he had displayed throughout his ring entire career – aggression, pressure and a mindset of coming to battle – to walk through all that was thrown at him and destroy!  

Chavez finally retired in his twenty-fifth year as a professional boxer with a record of 107 wins, 6 losses and 2 draws, with 86 knockouts. He holds records for most successful defenses of world titles – 27! and most title fights – 37! 

Chavez also has the longest undefeated streak in boxing history. His record was 89-0-1 going into his first loss to Frankie Randall and had an 87 fight win streak until his controversial draw with Whitaker. 

For those keen to know more about Chavez track down Diego Luna’s recent film: