This week’s Blast features Miguel Canto
Born January 30th, 1948 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, Miguel Canto Solis was just five feet and one half inch tall and fought as a Flyweight. The Yucatan is one of Mexico’s 31 independent states and is also the home of other world champion boxers like Guty Espadas, Miguel Berchelt, Gilberto Keb Bass and others but none achieved similar glory as El Maestro Pequeno, Miguel Canto. Canto was not the typical Mexican fighter. He was not a blood-and-guts pressure fighter like we’ve come to love when we imagine a Mexican fighter. Canto was a stylist and defensive genius and is often referred to as the Mexican Willie Pep.
Canto was one of those rare-greats who actually lost his pro-debut, a three round technical knockout defeat to Raul Hernandez on February fifth, 1969. Canto was just 21 years old. Fighting predominantly in his hometown of Merida, Canto notched a record of 33-3-3 (12) in just under five years as a pro before he faced Betulio Gonzalez in Caracas Venezuela for the WBC Flyweight Championship. Canto dropped a 15 round majority decision to Gonzalez but Canto won his next six fights earning himself another shot at the title in January of `75 against southpaw, Shoji Oguma in Japan. Canto defeated Oguma by the closest of Majority Decisions but he battled Oguma twice more during his record-setting title reign, defeating him each time they met.
In May of `75, Canto avenged his loss to Venezuelan, Betulio Gonzalez winning a spilt decision in his first official defense of the WBC Flyweight Title he earned beating Oguma. Canto went on to defend the Flyweight title 14 times before facing Chan-Hee Park of South Korea who defeated him via 15 round unanimous decision.
IBRO ranks him at number 7 in the top ten of all-time Greatest Flyweights, just behind Frankie Genaro and ahead of Ricardo “Finito” Lopez.