Feb. 13, 2014
By Ted Sares
He is on the ballot in this year’s IBHOF voting so it’s important to note just who he was.
“When he fought, everything in Mexico stopped. Still, even today, he's probably one of the greatest idols in Mexico.” -Boxing writer and publicist Ricardo Jimenez.
“My Mother would lock me in the house to run out and touch Raton” --Rodolfo Martinez
The super popular El Raton, whose ring glory days were in the '50s, came from Tepito and started his amateur career at fourteen, winning the National Junior Flyweight, Flyweight and Bantamweight titles. He won a bronze medal at the Pan American Games, and represented Mexico as a bantamweight at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games.
Known by the nickname “Mouse”, the 5-foot-3 ½-inch Macías won the vacant National Boxing Association — which later became the World Boxing Association — World Bantamweight title over Chamrern Songkitrat of Thailand in 1955. He successfully defended the world title twice before losing it before 20,060 fans to Alphonse Halimi, a French-Algerian, on a split decision in 1957 .The decision was controversial as many thought Macias had done enough to win it.
Amazingly, he once filled Mexico City’s bullfighting ring with 50,000 adoring fans who watched him defeat Nate Brooks in September 1954 for the North American title. The Mouse became Mexico’s top sports hero and dedicated his triumphs to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the country’s patron saint. He was one of Televisa’s first boxing stars and many of his bouts were shown live on TV during the ’50s. He was also highly popular in California and Texas.
The Mouse, not your typical Mexican brawler of that period, was a “thinking man's fighter” who could win in many ways. He was. He beat such notables as Alberto Reyes, Larry Bataan, Otilio "Zurdo" Galvan, Tanny Campo, Beto Couary, Fili Nava, Billy “Sweet Pea” Peacock, Cecil Schoonmaker, and Alphonse Halimi. In only his seventh pro outing, he outpointed veteran Otilio “Zurdo” Galvan (then 83-28-5).
Winning his last five fights, he retired for good in 1962 at age 28 with a professional record of 41-2. Curiously, Macías was KO'd by Billy “Sweet Pea” Peacock who in turned was stopped by Nate Brooks in the first encounter between the two. The knockout loss to Peacock was the first time Macias had been dropped in over 300 amateur and professional bouts
After retiring once and for all from boxing, Macias dedicated his life to acting, appearing in a number of Mexican soap operas, most notably "My Small Soledad" (Mi Pequena Soledad) alongside the famous performer Veronica Castro. His movie-star looks and “man-of-the-people” aura made him a favorite of even non-Mexicans. He later became a full-time trainer (he was on the coaching squad of Mexico's 1984 Olympic Boxing Team) and was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.
Macias passed on March 23, 2009 at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 74. Considered by many as perhaps Mexico's first boxing "idol," his death was mourned throughout the country and boxing world. A day of national mourning was declared in Mexico upon his passing.