Name: Carlos Zarate
Hometown: Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Birthplace: Tepito, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Pro Boxer: Record
Manager: Cuyo Hernandez
Trainer: Jorge Zarate
Carlos Zarate Serna, better known in the world of boxing plainly as Carlos Zarate, was born May 23, 1951, in the neighborhood of Tepito in Mexico City, Mexico.
Zarate won the Mexican Golden Gloves, or Guantes De Oro, in 1969 and finished his amateur career with a record of 33-3 (30 KOs).
Zarate made his professional debut on February 2, 1970, with a second-round knockout win over Luis Castaneda in Cuernavaca. The win marked the beginning of a 23-fight knockout streak. The only times he had to go past the third round were when he fought Al Torres, Antonio Cataneda and Eduardo Miranda in Tijuana; Torres and Miranda lasted five rounds, and Cataneda made it to the ninth. Victor Ramirez became the first boxer to last the distance with Zarate, losing by a 10-round decision in Mexico City on January 30, 1974. After outpointing Ramirez, Zarate won his next 28 fights by knockout. He has the distinction of being the only boxer in history to put together two streaks of 20 or more consecutive knockout wins.
Following a second-round knockout of former world title challenger Nestor Jimenez in Mexicali to end 1975, the WBC ranked Zarate as the No. 1 bantamweight contender. So, after beating Cesar Deciga by a fourth-round knockout in Monterrey on March 29, 1976, Zarate was matched against WBC bantamweight champion Rodolfo Martinez in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood at The Forum on May 8. Zarate knocked out his countryman in the eighth round to win the world title.
After two non-title fights, Zarate made his first title defense, knocking out Paul Ferreri in 12 rounds in Los Angeles on August 28, 1976. He finished 1976 with a fourth-round knockout of Waruinge Nakayama in Culiacan on November 13 to successfully defend his title for the second time.
After beginning 1977 with a third-round knockout of Fernando Cabanella in Mexico City, Mexican boxing fans started talking about a possible unification bout between Zarate and fellow Mexican Alfonso Zamora, the WBA bantamweight champion. However, both the WBC and WBA wanted its champion to pay a large amount of money before agreeing to sanction the bout. As a result, the two bantamweight champions signed to fight in a 10-round non-title bout. The fight took place in Inglewood at The Forum on April 23, 1977.
Over 13,000 people attended "The Battle of the Z Boys" at The Forum. One of the attendees, a man wearing a white tank top and gray shorts, jumped into the ring during the first minute of the fight. He was quickly and roughly removed by five policemen, and the fight resumed. Though rattled slightly, Zarate didn’t take long to kick up the action. He stunned Zamora in the second round, dropped him in the third and finished him in the fourth after two more knockdowns. With the victory, Zarate gained recognition by most boxing fans as the undisputed champion of the bantamweights.
Zarate fought twice more in 1977, defending his title with a sixth-round knockout of Danilo Batista in Inglewood on October 29 and a fifth-round knockout of Juan Francisco Rodriguez in Spain on December 2.
In 1978, Zarate started out by making a title defense against future world champion Alberto Davila, whom he knocked out in eight rounds in Inglewood on February 25. He then defended the championship with a 13th-round knockout of Andres Hernandez in San Juan on April 22 and a fourth-round knockout of Emilio Hernandez in Las Vegas on June 9.
After eight successful title defenses, Zarate announced he was going to move up in weight and challenge WBC super bantamweight champion Wilfredo Gomez. The fight boasts the highest knockout percentage shared between two fighters in a world title fight: the boxers' combined record was 73-0-1 (72 KOs). The fight took place on October 28, 1978, at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. Zarate tasted defeat for the first time in his career when he was dropped four times en route to a fifth-round knockout loss.
On March 10, 1979, Zarate made what would turn out to be his last successful defense, knocking out John Kodjo Mensan in three rounds at The Forum in Inglewood. He followed the win with a non-title bout in Houston on May 1, scoring a fifth-round knockout against Celso Chairez.
Zarate made his 10th title defense against stablemate and former sparring partner Lupe Pintor at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on June 3, 1979. Zarate was forced to go the championship distance of 15 rounds for the first time in his career. To the surprise of many, Pintor was awarded a split decision victory and the WBC bantamweight title. The Associated Press had Zarate winning by nine points. Outraged by the decision, Zarate announced his retirement from boxing and vowed never to fight again.
Zarate returned to the ring on February 25, 1986, and won a four-round majority decision against Adam Garcia at The Forum. After winning winning his next 11 fights, 10 by knockout, the WBC ranked Zarate as the No. 1 contender at super bantamweight.
On October 16, 1987, Zarate traveled to Australia to challenge WBC super bantamweight champion Jeff Fenech, who many Australian boxing fans consider to be the greatest Australian fighter of all-time. The fight was stopped at the end of the fourth round due to a cut suffered by Fenech, which was ruled to have been caused by a clash of heads. They went to the scorecards, and Fenech was awarded a technical decision win; all four judges had him ahead 40-36. Zarate claimed the cut was caused by a punch and insisted he should have been ruled the winner by TKO. Following his win over Zarate, Fenech relinquished the title and moved up to featherweight.
On February 29, 1988, Zarate faced countryman Daniel Zaragoza for the vacant WBC super bantamweight title at The Forum and lost by a 10th-round TKO. Following the defeat, Zarate retired for good.
- 10-4 (10 KOs) in world title fights.
- 3-4 (3 KOs) against former, current and future world titlists.
Awards & Recognition
- The Ring named Zarate Fighter of the Year for 1977.
- The Ring named Zarate the greatest bantamweight of all-time in 1994.
- The Ring named Zarate the 11th greatest fighter of the last 50 years in 1996.
- The Associated Press named Zarate, along with Ruben Olivares, Bantamweight Fighter of Century in 1999.
- The Ring named Zarate the 21st greatest puncher of all-time in 2003.
- Zarate's nephew, Joel Luna Zarate, was also a boxer. He held the Mexican super flyweight title in 1994 and unsuccessfully challenged for a world title four times.
- Zarate and Wilfredo Gomez met at a boxing card in Puerto Rico to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their boxing bout.
| WBC Bantamweight Champion
1976 May 8 – 1979 Jun 3