Sadly, there is precious little footage of Mexican bantamweight legend Jesus Pimentel. In fact, all that is out there is the losing fight Pimental had with Jose Medal, as well as the fight that saw a past his best Pimentel challenge the great Ruben Olivares; this the one and only title shot “Little Poison,” as the fearsome 118 pound puncher was known, ever got. That was in December of 1971, and a 31-year-old Pimentel was stopped late, pulled out by his corner after having given it his all.
In his prime, Pimentel was a sensational fighter, and an absolutely brutal puncher. In a poll by Ring Magazine, Pimentel was judged to be the greatest knockout puncher in bantamweight history from 1856 to 1968. In all, the warrior who was born in Sayula, Mexico, and went on to become a huge fan attraction in America, often in Los Angles, scored an astonishing 72 KO’s, this from 81 wins, with 7 defeats.
Pimentel was a sizzling body puncher. So much so that, in a recent tweet, heavyweight legend George Foreman, when asked who had the best left hook ever, wrote this about Pimentel:
“Best left hook I ever saw was that of Jesus Pimental; a small man but [a] pure boxer. Giant of fundamentals. I saw Pimental throw the most perfect hook to the body. I still have visions of it to this day (Sacramento, California). Pure fighter. I saw for myself, what an honor. I was 18.”
Incredibly high praise from the two-time heavyweight king.
“Little Poison” went pro in the summer of 1960 and he won his first ten bouts. Pimental dropped a decision to Trino Savala, but he bounced back to win 38 fights in a row, most of them by KO. An impressive KO win over Jose Portillo Lopez in 1963 got Pimentel plenty of attention and his following grew. Sadly, due to managerial mishaps and other bad luck, Pimental never got a shot at the bantamweight crown. He was close on a couple of occasions – the exciting puncher set to fight Fighting Harada and Eder Jofre, only for both fights to elude Pimental. A points loss to Jose Medel in December of 1965 cost Pimental dearly.
Some of the fine fighters Pimental defeated include, Lopez, Jose Valdes, Jackie Burke, Raul Herrera. Sometimes matched with lesser fighters with average records, Pimental nevertheless showed his ability and his punching prowess throughout his career. Would he have beaten Jofre and/or Harada had he actually got the chance? Maybe. We will never know.
In the long list (too long) of excellent fighters who were denied a shot at world glory, “Little Poison” Pimental has to rank near the top. Today, the 81-year-old Pimental lives in North Hills, California. In a 1997 interview with The LA Times, Pimental said he still loves boxing and that he is glad he got out at the right time:
“I thank God I knew when to call it quits,” he said. “I felt punches in that fight (with Olivares) that I had never felt before.”
Pimentel was stopped just twice.