IN THE PROUD tradition of boxing in Mexico, no champions are more celebrated than the country's bantamweight kings. A long and fabulous progression of 118-pound titleholders have emerged from Mexico and none was more popular than Ruben Olivares.

Olivares was a tremendous puncher. He scored knockouts in his first 22 fights and his best weapon was the left hook. When he knocked out Lionel Rose to win the bantamweight title in 1969, his record was 51-0-1 with 49 knockouts.

He lost his title to fellow countryman Chucho Castillo via TKO in the 14th round. A bad cut led to Olivares' undoing. However, Ruben regained the title in their third fight.

Olivares moved to the featherweight division and captured the vacant WBA title in 1974 with a seventh-round knockout of Zensuke Utagawa. His reign was brief. In his first defense, fellow Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello stopped him in 13.

In 1975, Olivares won the WBC featherweight crown by knocking out Bobby Chacon but again he wouldn't remain a champ for long. David Kotey decisioned him in his first title defense.

Olivares fought on but never won another title. He finally retired in 1981.

Born: Jan. 14, 1947
Bouts: 104
Won: 88
Lost: 13
Draw: 3
KOs: 78
Induction: 1991
Ruben (El Puas) Olivares