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March 09, 2014

By Steve Farhood, courtesy of Showtime Boxing

Tonight's all-Mexican Saul Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo rumble is among the most anticipated bouts of 2014. Given the styles of the fighters, itís guaranteed to be an action fight. There have been several classic Mexico vs. Mexico battles over the years. Hereís my top eight.

1. Rafael Marquez-Israel Vazquez (2007-2010): Battling intensely at junior featherweight and feather, they won twice each. Inarguably one of the best four-fight series in history.

2. Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales (2000-2004): A class struggle that got personal; Barrera grew up middle-class in the big city, while Morales was raised in the red-light district of Tijuana. Barrera won two of three very close fights, one at 122 pounds, one at 126, and one at 130. Each was memorable.

3. Ruben Olivares-Chucho Castillo (1970-1971): Olivares took two of three classic bantamweight title fights, all held at the Fabulous Forum in LA. To these rivals, the title of best 118-pounder in Mexico meant more than the world crown.

4. Carlos Zarate-Alfonso Zamora (1977): This is not a typo: When they fought, Zarate was 38-0 with 37 KOs, Zamora was 29-0 with 29 KOs. Both were world bantamweight titlists. Zarate won in four predictably explosive rounds. Itís worth a watch on YouTube.

5. Juan Manuel Marquez-Marco Antonio Barrera (2007): Marquez finally broke through after the extended Mexican dominance of Barrera and Morales. JMM won by unanimous decision at junior lightweight.

6. Julio Cesar Chavez-Jose Luis Ramirez (1988): Chavez was 61-0 when these countrymen battled in a lightweight unification fight. One fight after Ramirez had edged Pernell Whitaker [by being given a decision that no one thought he deserved], ďJ.C. SuperstarĒ defeated Ramirez by 11th-round technical decision.

7. Lupe Pintor-Carlos Zarate (1979): Pintor won the bantamweight title by unpopular decision, ending Zarateís dominant reign. Zarate didnít fight again for seven years.

8. Cristian Mijares-Jorge Arce (2007): Mijares kept the junior bantamweight title in a little-man showdown at the Alamodome. The win helped launch Mijares into the pound-for-pound top 10.

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