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|Full name||Alberto Mercado|
January 2, 1961 |
Cayey, Puerto Rico
|Height||166 cm (5 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||51 kg (112 lb)|
Amateur boxing career
Mercado started boxing as an amateur at the age of 12, immediately winning a nationwide competition known as the "Olimpiadas Jíbaras de la Vivienda" ("Housing Complex Hillbillies' Olympics"). This motivated him to keep boxing as an amateur and hoping to win a world title in the future.
In 1978, Mercado represented Puerto Rico at the 1978 Central American and Caribbean Games held at Colombia. He won gold at these games and participated in a world cup tournament. Hoping to become the first Puerto Rican ever to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games, Mercado moved to Cuba periodically; there he trained hard towards that goal.
Around that era, Mercado befriended and worked alongside one of Jose Celso Barbosa's children; he criticized the Puerto Rican government which was led by Carlos Romero Barcelo of the Statehood supporting New Progressive Party and was fired from his job and taken by Puerto Rico Olympic Committee President German Rieckehoff Sampayo to live in Mexico for a while, until after the 1980 Olympics were over. The Puerto Rican government, led by Barcelo-according to Mercado-, offered him a new house, new car and money if he just returned to Puerto Rico without attending the Olympics but he refused, and when Mercado arrived in Moscow for the international competition, he declared that "(the Puerto Rican government) tried to bribe me, but I am unbribable". (in Spanish)
In that end, Mercado was one of only three American citizens who challenged the boycott of the 1980 Olympics celebrated in Moscow, Russia, bearing the flag of and competing in boxing for Puerto Rico after having won the gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games. The other two were also representants from Puerto Rico and boxers: Luis Pizarro and José Angel Molina.
In the professional ranks Mercado had a winning record, but also had some bad luck. He lost to Refugio Rojas in a USBA Featherweight title try on points by split decision, and on a fight to decide the IBF's #1 challenger, he lost by a knockout in 7 rounds to eventual world champion Antonio Rivera, after leading the fight on all scorecards at the end of round 6.
Mercado worked as a fireman in Dade County, Florida, for many years. He used to train at the famous Bairoa Gym in Caguas, Puerto Rico, but he resided in Cayey during his years as a top boxing contender.
He had a professional record of 31 wins, 14 losses and 1 draw (tie), with 27 wins by knockout.