I can't speak for most Cuban fans; but, from what I've gathered over the years, Kid Chocolate and Kid Gavilan tend to rank higher in ATG lists than Napoles. I've watched footage of Chocolate, and he looked impressive -- very modern looking fighter. Gavilan was also terrific. One thing is certain, all three men were very different from what has come to be known as the Cuban school. Nearly all of today's Cuban fighters spent entirely too much time in the amateurs, and developed a style geared towards medals rather than belts. One Cuban fighter I really like didn't quite make the ATG cut, but he was beautiful to watch: Luis "El Feo" Rodriguez.
My hat's off to you, sir. You know your stuff. I always knew about Jose's propensity for cuts. I think he lost his title to Billy Backus over one. And I agree, Napoles wouldn't have been able to cope with Monzon even in his prime. I've often wondered who should be considered the greatest Cuban fighter of all time. It's a tough choice between Kid Chocolate, Kid Gavilan and "Mantequilla."
I'm not an expert on Napoles. I just did some research on him and found he had some early fights at featherweight. It does seem as though Jose fought well under the welterweight limit. It's interesting to note that he was outweighed by Monzon (in his only middleweight bout) by almost seven pounds. It's crazy to think that "Mantequilla" took on arguably the greatest middleweight of all time with that much of a weight disadvantage. No catchweights for those guys! lol I've seen footage on Youtube of Napoles. He was a pleasure to watch -- skilled and powerful, 54 KOs in 80 wins. Very impressive indeed. It must've been a treat to watch that guy in his heyday.
You're welcome, brother. Pretty amazing to have watched Jose train and spar. Always nice to be witness to greatness. The Canelo-Lara fight promises to be very good, I think. The way I see it, may the best man win.