MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – Two-time world super featherweight champion Genaro Hernandez has died of a rare cancer. He was 45.
Hernandez's wife, Liliana Hernandez, said he died Tuesday at his home of rhabdomyosarcoma, which attacks muscle fibers.
Hernandez, nicknamed Chicanito (little Mexican), was born in South Central Los Angeles and began his professional boxing career in 1984. He was WBA super featherweight champion from 1991-94 and WBC super featherweight champion from 1997-98.
"He had been boxing from the age of 8 and dedicated his life to the sport," Liliana Hernandez said in a telephones interview Wednesday night.
He won his first championship in 1991 with a ninth round knockout of Daniel Londas in France.
Hernandez relinquished that belt to fight Oscar De La Hoya for the lightweight championship in 1995. De La Hoya knocked out Hernandez in the sixth round.
He won the WBC title in 1997, taking a decision against Azumah Nelson. He lost his last fight and the title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 1998.
Hernandez retired later that year due to a small blood clot in his brain and finished his career with a record of 38-2-1 with 17 knockouts.
In addition to his wife of 21 years, Hernandez is survived by his son, Steven; his daughter, Amanda; three brothers; two sisters; and his father.