The country of Mexico has had upwards of 200 boxing world champions from the country or of Mexican descent. When great Mexican boxers are brought up for discussion, many of the same names come up, such as Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, Ruben Olivares, Miguel Canto, Vicente Saldivar, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales.
With so many legendary Mexican boxers, a plethora are often overlooked.
One such fighter is Gilberto Roman (54-6-1, 35 KOs). He was trained under the tutelage of renowned trainer Nacho Beristain who trained perfectly textbook fighters like Juan Manuel Marquez and Ricardo Lopez. Roman was one of his star pupils and made such an impression that Beristain named his gym after him and Daniel Zaragoza, the famed Romanza gym.
In a similar fashion to the Marquez brothers and Ricardo Lopez, Roman would have been the perfect prototype to be used in a how-to-box instructional video. Everything he did inside the ring was precise and with a purpose, perfectly portraying the sweet science.
Over the course of two title reigns, he held the WBC super flyweight championship. He made 11 defenses of his titles, including one draw. Both of his championship runs lasted 13 and 18 months each. However, the amount of defenses made in such a short period is mind-blowing.
Roman was also willing to travel, winning and defending his titles in Japan, France, Argentina, Thailand, Korea, and Mexico. He could be considered a true world champion that took full advantage of holding a championship by fighting as often as possible in various locations.
Tragically, Roman passed away in an auto accident in June 1990, just weeks after his final bout.
Roman fighting at the same time as Mexico's most beloved fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez, overshadowed his greatness. The popularity and sheer fanaticism behind Chavez have rarely been seen.
Roman deserves recognition for being one of Mexico's greatest. Any stereotypes of Mexican boxing being merely a form of brawling can be laid to rest by putting on any fight with Gilberto Roman.