While many Americans think Cinco De Mayo is a holiday observing Mexico's Independence, it isn't.

Cinco De Mayo is actually a historical date celebrating the great victory by Mexican forces over the French Empire at the Battle of Pueblo in 1862.

Mexico has always been a country that has defied the odds and opposition, especially in sports. A great deal of athletes have come from the large Latin American nation thus paving a way for greatness for many others.

Latin Post honors 10 of the greatest Mexican athletes throughout sports history:

Julio Cesar Chavez

Probably the most underrated boxer of all-time. The former champion out of Sonora, Mexico packed a powerful punch. Chavez began his career an incredible 89-0-1. In 1984, he defeated Mario Martinez for the Super Featherweight title, and later beat Edwin Rosario for the Lightweight title. Chavez didn't lose a single match until 1994 when Frankie Randall won by split decision. Chavez may have been small, but he had a lot of punching power that resulted in 86 professional knockouts.

Juan Manuel Márquez

Juan Manuel Márquez is currently the No. 4 ranked welterweight fighter in the entire world, and the No. 1-ranked Mexican boxer. His greatness was overshadowed for much of his career because of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, but Márquez always kept on swinging. Arguably his greatest moment came in 2011 when he knocked out Pacquiao.

Fernando Valenzuela

Like most Latin American countries, baseball is very popular in Mexico. Fernando Valenzuela was an incredibly effective pitcher in the 1980s for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Valenzuela guided the Dodgers to a World Series victory in 1981 over the New York Yankees. He finished his career with a no-hitter, a Cy Young Award, and more than 2,000 strikeouts.

Ricardo Lopez

Boxing really is a very popular sport in Mexico. Ricardo Lopez dominated the 1990s by not losing a single fight, and holding the minimumweight title for nearly his entire career. The right-hander out of Cuernavaca finished his career with 51 victories and not a single loss. He fought his last bout in September of 2001 at Madison Square Garden by knocking out Zolani Petelo in the eighth round.

Hugo Sanchez

Argentina's Lionel Messi sits on top of the Spanish Premier League with 283 career goals, but there was a time when Hugo Sanchez was on top of the soccer world. Only Messi and Telma Zarra have more career La Liga goals. Sanchez finished his incredible La Liga career with 234 goals, by far the most of any Mexican-born player ever. In the 1989-90 La Liga season, Sanchez scored an incredible 38 goals, which was the most ever in a single season at the time.

Salvador Sanchez

With Salvador Sanchez, we can only wonder what if. Sanchez began his career an incredible 44-1-1. The "Invincible Eagle" was one of the quickest of his generation when he fought. Unfortunately, he tragically died in a car accident in 1982 at just 23 years of age.

Jared Borgetti

Jared Borgetti is the all-time leading goal scorer in Mexican soccer history with 46 goals. In 2002 he scored two goals at the FIFA World Cup, leading Mexico to the round of 16. Borgetti spent much of his career playing in the Mexican Premier Division with the Santos Laguna.

Joaquín Capilla

Mexico has won a total of 62 Olympic medals, all of which have come at the Summer Olympics. Joaquín Capilla is the most successful Olympic athlete for Mexico having won four medals in 1952 and 1956. In 1956 Capilla won the gold medal for diving. Mexico is still to this day the only Latin American country to host the Summer Olympics. Get ready for Brazil in 2016.

Lorena Ochoa

Golf is becoming more and more popular in Latin America. Lorena Ochoa made golf history when she successfully won two majors, the first ever Mexican born golfer to do so, men's or women's. She won the British Open in 2007, and the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2008. Ochoa retired in 2010 as the first Mexican to be ranked No. 1 in the PGA world golf rankings.

Javier Hernandez

He may only be 26 years old, but Javier Hernandez's future looks bright. Hernandez is already the second leading goal-scorer in Mexican soccer history behind only Jared Borgetti. Hernandez has scored in each of the last two World Cups, and he is improving his play with Real Madrid.

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