Mighty Mouse (Raúl ‘Ratón’ Macías: 28 July 1934 – 23 March 2009)
About the same time television producers in the United States were attempting to create an audience for cartoon super-hero Mighty Mouse, Mexican … and later Latin American and other viewers… found their own heroic mouse in the very real, and — if not super-heroic, at least impressive — Raúl “Ratón” Macías.
Standing an imposing 5’3½” (161 cm), and topping out in his prime at an imposing 118 pounds (54 Kg), Raúl Macías was yet another of those oversized Mexican figures to fight his way from Tepito to prominence and respect throughout Latin America, if not the world.
Tepito is a tough neighborhood, maybe even more so in the thirties and forties when El Ratón… the mouse… was a little kid (as if he’d be any other kind) and he — like so many other of the Barrio Bravo’s sons who earned the neighborhood it’s unusual Metro logo — learned to defend himself very, very well.
Taking a bronze medal as a flyweight at the 1951 Buenos Aires Pan-American Games, Macías’ launched his professional career on New Years’ Day, 1952, knocking out Memo Sanchez in the first round of a Culiacan bout. It was the start of a stellar boxing career: 43 professional bouts between that New Years Day fight and his last, also a knock-out, against “Chocolate” Zambrano, in Guadalajara, 13 October 1962. In all, the Mouse fought 43 bouts, lost only 2, and won 25 by a knockout.
Television, still a novelty in the 50s, made El Raton a household name throughout Mexico, and throughout Latin America. Some of the earliest live television broadcasts in Latin America were those of el Raton knocking yet another chump out.
After his retirement, the little-big man made a new career for himself as a telenovela star, and sometimes guest starring as himself… the popular little boxer who could … on sitcoms.
In recent years, El Raton has developed a new following, both among those who — as he did — defended amateur athletics against the growing tendency to channel resources and government support to the sports industry — and those who simply admired his skill in training and developing young boxers.
Always having credited the Virgin of Guadalupe for his success. The usually solemn and quiet Basilica of the Virgin erupted into gritos of “¡Raton! ¡Raton! ¡Raton!” from the thousands who attended Tuesday’s funeral mass.