|Real name||Alberto Arizmendi|
|Rated at||Bantamweight, Featherweight, Welterweight|
|Born||March 17, 1913
Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico
|Died||December 31, 1962
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Wins by KO||13|
|Undated photo of Arizmendi (left) sparring on a rooftop, taken by Harry E. Winkler (glass plate negative held by the University of Notre Dame library)|
Alberto "Baby" Arizmendi (March 17, 1914 – December 31, 1962) was a professional boxer and featherweight world title holder. He also competed in the bantamweight and welterweight divisions. Arizmendi is famous for being the youngest boxer to turn pro. Arizmendi turned pro at the age of 13.
Baby used a charging, bruising style, making him a very strong two-fisted fighter. He won his first title in November 1931 when he won the Mexican bantamweight title. With victories over such names as Fidel LaBarba, Baby established himself as a worthy contender for the featherweight crown.
On September 16, 1932, at the age of 19, he defeated reigning NBA World featherweight champion Tommy Paul in a ten round non-title fight, dropping him once in the process. The NBA world title was not at stake because Paul came in over the weight limit. After that win, Arizmendi requested that the NBA recognize his status as champion. In support of his claim to the NBA title, the California boxing commission gave him the opportunity to fight for their world title. The following month, Arizmendi defeated Newsboy Brown to claim the California World Featherweight Title. He retained his title with a draw against Varias Milling then defended it against Archie Bell and Speedy Dado. He lost the title to NBA World featherweight champion Freddie Miller in a 10-round unification bout. However, Arizmendi didn't give up, as he rematched Miller later that year and defeated him in a non-title fight. In his following bouts, Arizmendi won 9 and lost 2. On August 30, 1934, he defeated Mike Belloise for the New York state featherweight crown. After the win, Arizmendi attempted to secure a third fight with NBA champion Miller in a title bout, however, Miller refused to face him.
On November 4, 1934, he defeated Henry Armstrong in their first of five meetings, winning almost every round despite suffering a broken wrist in the second round. He defeated Armstrong once again on January 2, 1935, to claim the California-Mexican World featherweight title. Following those victories, he defeated future world title holder Chalky Wright by fourth round knockout. During the next year and a half, Arizmendi posted a record of 9 wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws (including a second win over Wright). He subsequently lost the California-Mexico World title in his third bout with Armstrong. In his following 7 fights, Arizmendi combined wins and losses before facing Armstrong for a fourth time. Despite losing the fight on points, Arizmendi ended Armstrong's 27 fight knockout streak by going the distance with him. In his following 6 fights, Arizmendi won 5 and had a draw against reigning world lightweight champion Lou Ambers. His last bout with Armstrong was his last shot for a World title, where he dropped a grueling 10-round decision for the World Welterweight title. He continued boxing up until 1942, with occasional bouts with Lou Ambers, Sammy Angott, and George Latka, but never again went for a title.
After retiring from boxing, Arizmendi would serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later operated restaurants in the Echo Park District. According to two 1956 articles (July 22 and 23), Arizmendi was hospitalized following a partial paralytic condition on his left side. According to his wife, Henrietta, he had been in semi-ill health and went from 216 to 164 pounds during the previous month. It was also reported he had been undergoing a brain examination and further diabetic blood tests.
Arizmendi died of natural causes in a veterans hospital on New Year's Eve 1962, at the age of 48, leaving behind widow Henrietta. He died after a prolonged illness at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sawtelle (which is now considered part of Westwood, a suburb in the City of Los Angeles, and is near the UCLA campus). Arizmendi was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.
- IBHOF/Baby Arizmendi, IBHOF.com, Retrieved on 1-1-08