International Boxing Hall of Fame
Contrary to many Mexican boxers, Canto was not a "slam-bang" type of boxer ("Slam-Bang" is a term that is used to describe boxers whose fights are usually action-packed; Mexican boxers are usually stereotyped as "slam-bangers"). He enjoyed using boxing techniques and knowledge instead of trying to score knockouts in most of his fights. Prove of this is that he only won fifteen fights by knockout, out of more than seventy professional bouts.
Canto began his professional boxing career on February 5, 1969. He became one of those rare cases in boxing, like Alexis Arguello, Henry Armstrong, Bernard Hopkins, and Victor Luvi Callejas and Wilfredo Vazquez, where a boxer loses his first fight and goes on to become a world champion. He lost that day to Raul Hernandez, in Canto's hometown of Mérida, by a knockout in round three.
His first win came against Pedro Martinez, on May 5, 1969, by a four round decision, also at Merida. Canto lost his next fight, but a streak of seven undefeated fights (he went 5-0-2, with 2 knockouts during that streak), led him to fight Vicente Pool on May 27 of 1970, for the Yucatan state Flyweight title. Canto won his first professional belt when he outpointed Pool over twelve rounds. In his first defense, he retained the crown, with a twelve round decision over Jose Luis Cetina. After losing his next bout, a ten round, non title bout, on a decision, he went on to win 21 bouts in a row, including his first bout outside Merida (a two round knockout of Pedro Martinez in Cansahcab, Mexico), and a win over Constantino Garcia on January 22, 1972, by twelve round decision, to claim the Mexican Flyweight title. On January 31, 1973, he fought to a ten round draw (tie) against perennial contender Ignacio Espinal.
After a streak of twenty six fights without loss (including the tie against Espinal), he was given his first world title try, when he fought Betulio Gonzalez in Maracaibo, Venezuela, for the WBC world Flyweight title. In what was also his first fight abroad, he was outpointed by the equally legendary Gonzalez, considered by many to be Venezuela's greatest fighter of all time, on August 4 of 1973.
Canto won six more fights, including two Mexican title defenses, and on January 8, 1975, he became the WBC world Flyweight champion by defeating then champion Shoji Oguma by a fifteen round decision at Sendai, Japan. His dream of becoming a world champion finally realized, Canto was a busy champion, mixing several non-title bouts with his title defenses. He beat Espinal in a rematch by a ten round decision, and his first four title defenses (including a third fight with Espinal, in which Canto retained the title by a fifteen round decision) were made in Mexico, but he eventually became a travelling world champion.
For his fifth title defense, he returned to Venezuela for a rematch with Gonzalez. The second time around, he beat Gonzalez by a fifteen round decision. and, one month later, he retained the crown against Orlando Javierto, once again by fifteen round decision, in Los Angeles, California.
On April 24, 1977, he returned to Venezuela for a third time, retaining the title against Reyes Arnal by a fifteen round decision in Caracas. Two months later, he beat Kimio Furesawa by a fifteen round decision in Tokyo. Then, he and Martin Vargas fought the first of their two bouts: on September 17 1977, Canto outpointed Vargas in his hometown of Mérida.
In 1978, Canto retained his title three times, including two rematches with Shoji Oguma, both of them held in Japan, and another fifteen round points win over Facomrom Vibonchai, in a fight held at Houston, Texas.
On February 10 of 1979, he retained the title against a future world champion, Antonio Avelar, by a fifteen round decision, but, on March 18, his reign came to an end, when he lost a fifteen round decision to Chan Hee Park in South Korea.
On September 9 of that same year, he tried to recover the title from Park, but, after fifteen rounds, the champion retained the title with a fifteen round tie.
Canto's career took a downward spiral after that. He went 4-4 in his last eight fights, including a loss and a win against future world champion Gabriel Bernal, a loss against Olympic Bronze medalist Orlando Maldonado of Puerto Rico and another loss against future world title challenger Candido Tellez.
He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Canto successfully defended his title 14 times, once by a TKO win, and the other 13 times by going the 15-round distance--a record that may never be broken, in this era of 12-round championship bouts.
WBC Flyweight Champion
8 Jan 1975–18 Mar 1979