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.
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.
Congressman and pound for pound best boxer on the planet Manny Pacquiao now has his own YouTube channel.
Check out his LA mansion MTV Cribs:
Boxing superstars don’t come much better than Manny Pacquiao, and there is no finer place to see why than in American television giant HBO’s latest highlight selection – see Hatton, De le Hoya and Cotto amongst others defeated by force of nature that is Pacman.
It seems a lifetime ago since the Puerto Rico boxer Miguel Angel Cotto campaigned at light-welterweight. There has been many a tough fight for Cotto since then, Cotto has consistently been in the most exciting, brutal and most competitive fights in boxing’s hardest divisions. His roll call of opponents is second to none – Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito and Zab Judah to name but a few. There have been brutal wars, fights with controversy, fights with drama, bloodshed, but at all times its been exciting.
Cotto had a lot to live up to right from the start – for a boxer hailing from Puerto Rico you have to not only face your opponent across the ring, you have to face the legends that have gone before you – Wilfredo Gomez and Felix Trinidad and many more are icons of the fight game in Puerto Rico, where boxing is the national sport. Trinidad’s departure from the limelight just as Cotto began to emerge as a force on the world stage didn’t make it easy for this future 2 time world champion to shine. Cotto could be awkward at times – not always effusive in interviews, here was a fighter that truly preferred to let his fists do the talking. For a public used to the quick smile of Trinidad, that was a slow journey to take Cotto into their hearts in the same way. Cotto has only really emerged as a superstar from his appearances in HBO’s wonderful 24/7 documentary for his fight with Pacquiao.
Despite his later popularity Cotto has often found himself in tough spots throughout his career. Antonio Margarito inflicted a terrible beating on Cotto in their fight – this at the time seemed to shatter the image of the indestructible Cotto. However in his next fight Margarito was caught with illegal padding (plaster of paris lumps) on his hands, suddenly Cotto’s loss was forgiven. In that fight Cotto had led the scorecards in the first half of the fight, before Margarito’s seemingly enormous strength disfigured Cotto to the point where he took a knee in submission. Taking that knee in submission is a damaging thing in boxing. Suddenly Cotto found himself vindicated – if muted – Top Rank his promotional company also promote Margarito so he was unlikely to publically discredit his stablemate even after Margarito was suspended for a year.
Enter in the era of Cotto the wronged fighter, tainted after Margarito’s beating, excussed but still potentially damaged goods. Cotto did what he’s done all along – take another tough fight and keep on keeping on. Enter fighters like Shane Mosley, fighters still at a peak of sorts and universally avoided by most other fighters. Cotto took him on, walked through fire and came out with a decision victory. It wasnt a walk in the park though. He took easier nights later against trumped-up Contender winner Alfredo Gomez and others but he kept on fighting. Then came Pacquiao.
Cotto at the weigh in for his fight with Manny Pacquiao
Pacquiao brings the mega-fight. He brings HBO money too. Cotto was competitive at first despite being robbed of raining champions right to have the fight at his weight and having his belt on the line. It was clear that Pacquiao was calling the shots – demands of $1 million for every pound that Cotto came in over the agreed weight was publicied when the deal was signed. Boiled down to 145 pounds (welterweight being 147) Cotto somehow looked the smaller man to Pacquiao and as the rounds went by he began to be broken down by the sheer aggressive brilliance of Pacquiao. On the way to be stopped on a TKO defeat in the 12th round Cotto showed plenty of guts, he didn’t quit but he took a beating.
His next fight against Yuri Foreman is up a weight at 154 pounds – super welterweight, so the assumption inside the Cotto camp must be that he can’t boil down to the same fighter at welterweight or below. Foreman is a WBA world champion and regarded as an awkward customer. He has never been in a war though, doesn’t have a career of competitive tough fights against him. Will years of the experience be Cotto’s edge or his undoing? We will find out on June 6th when Cotto Foreman collide at Yankee Stadium.
Antonio Margarito training for his comeback fight
Former world champion Antonio Margarito returns to ring in Aguascalientes, Mexico this coming weekend, after a crushing technical knockout defeat and a years suspension respectively. Margarito was once the man to be avoided in the welterweight division – a massive brawling, Mexican tough guy that broke his opponents down with seemingly endless brute strength. Margarito was dodged shamefully by the ruling elite in the welterweight division – you never heard Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao calling him out for a fight.
Handwraps changed everything though – a few months after his astonishing, violent beat down of Miguel Cotto, Margarito faced off against modern legend Sugar Shane Mosley. Once again Mosley seemed willing to fight just about anyone for a pay-day, there were few pundits or fans alike that were picking him to be anything other than cannon fodder for Margarito though. Before the fight however, in Margarito’s dressing room, Shane Mosley’s trainer Nasim Richardson noticed something was wrong. It was the handwraps. More accurately its was what fell out of the handwraps onto the floor that caused concern – lumps of hardening plaster. Furore broke out – the plaster lumps were seized by the boxing commission, and Margarito entered the ring after having his hands re-wrapped three times.
The rest as they say is history. The man who entered the ring against Mosley was a shell of his former ring self. He was battered in brutal fashion, and knocked out in nine rounds. Mosley had vindicated himself as a reborn fighter and Margarito’s myth was shattered. That was just the start of it. Margarito was eventually banned from boxing for a year – a paltry sentence to my mind as the beating Cotto took and the disfigured, swollen face he was left with at the end of that fight pointed strongly to the likelihood of Margarito using illegal padding in his previous fights. Illegal padding of gloves is about as reprehensible as its gets – the risk fighters undertake entering the ring is bad enough without loaded gloves being added into the mix.
The questions around Margarito’s comeback abound – should be allowed to return so soon if at all? How much talent and skill does he really have without loaded gloves? Should he be allowed to return so easily into world championship level in potentially big fights in the future?
If he wins on Saturday I am not convinced we will have any of the answers – the ten round fight is nothing more than a trumped-up warm up to bigger things down the line. The Mexican fans have welcomed their countryman back with open arms, but whether mainstream American fans and TV networks will do the same remains to be seen.
Edwin Valero always brings excitement. The excitement is not always saved for the fans watching his fights – it’s often the main event in his life outside of the ring too.
The fighter universally recognised as the most dangerous puncher in boxing and muted as a future opponent for everyone from Manny Pacquiao to Ricky Hatton is currently under lock and key by court order in a Venezuelan rehab facility for ‘alcohol and drug dependency’.
The events leading to his incarceration vary greatly but the essentials as far as I could glean from various news reports were that Valero’s wife took a “fall” down a flight of stairs and suffered some broken ribs and punctured lung. Valero by all accounts turned up at the hospital in a wild state and had to be forcibly restrained – no easy task I would imagine.
The WBC has given Valero champion in recess status while he is locked up – presumably to earn a few more dollars from fights while he is away from boxing. Rumours have abounded that Valero is poised to be released much earlier than his six month sentence but as of writing he is still firmly detoxing by order of the courts.
What is certain is that Valero’s life both inside and out of the ring continues to be an excercise in drama, aggression and wild emotions. Who knows what will be next – for now lets hope he has a swift recovery and returns to the ring as planned.
Don’t bet on anything involving Valero to be straightforward though, this is one soap opera where the ending is anything but textbook.
There has been an awful lot written about Ricky the hitman Hatton, but you will have to forgive me for adding to that mass of words with a few carefully chosen musings on why we should cherish the Hitman and not knock him.
Few modern fighters and especially British ones have captured the imagination of the public in quite the way Hatton has.
How did he achieve this?
The answer is to take the reader on a journey through a special type of boxer – to be more specific not just a boxer but a fighter. Hatton’s style is not polished or even defensively minded, Hatton is a brawler, a relentless, come forward, swarming, non stop killer. His boxing skills however are actually excellent – many a tough night he ground out a win against often bigger opponents (Juan Urango, Luis Collazo) using beautiful footwork and every ounce of the sweet science.
Pride in Battle
What won the fans heart though was his aggression – Hatton comes to fight, not to dance and avoid the action. You know what to expect from Hatton – he comes to take the other guy out – whether that’s one round or twelve. His often quoted comment that “it’s not a tickling contest” is a perfect description of this and Hatton’s unique personality.
Hattons personality saw him crossover from boxing star to British superstar – he is a man of the people, devoid of airs and graces and the trappings of fame. He is happy in his own skin, amongst his homeland of Hyde near Manchester. His sense of humour and wise cracking jokes won the British public over long before HBO’s excellent fly on the wall documentary 24/7 opened the flood gates up for the American fans to follow.
A special night - Ricky Hatton vs. Kostya Tszyu
I will personally remember a night at the MEN arena in Manchester where Hatton took the fight to Kostya Tzysu. He walked through fire that night – taking shots that could have dispatched tree trunks. He took it all and burst off his stool at the beginning of each round like he couldn’t wait to get back in there. It was perhaps the peak performance of Hatton’s so far.
So to the future – one foot in and one foot out of retirement. Two losses to the greatest fighters of his generation. I feel Hatton could do it all again – Erik Morales has shown the desire to lose 50 pounds of flab and come back taking shots and firing more back just this last weekend. For now I will just savour the fights he’s had and for me that’s enough for now!