José Torres

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José Torres
Jose Torres1.jpg
Statistics
Real nameJosé Torres
Nickname(s)Chegüi
Weight(s)Light heavyweight
NationalityAmerican[1]
Born(1936-05-03)May 3, 1936
Ponce, Puerto Rico
DiedJanuary 19, 2009(2009-01-19) (aged 72)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights45
Wins41
Wins by KO29
Losses3
Draws1
No contests0
Medal record
Men's Boxing
Representing  United States
Silver medal – second place 1956 Melbourne Light Middleweight

José ("Chegüi") Torres (May 3, 1936 – January 19, 2009) was a Puerto Rican-born American professional boxer. As an amateur boxer, he won a silver medal in the junior middleweight division at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. In 1965, he defeated Willie Pastrano to win the WBC, WBA and lineal light heavyweight championships. Torres trained with the legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato. In 1997, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Amateur career[edit]

Born in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Torres began boxing when he joined the United States Army as a teenager (he was 17 years old).[2] His only amateur titles had come in Army and Inter-Service championships, several of which he had won. Torres was still in the Army when he won the Silver Medal in the light middleweight division at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, where he lost to László Papp of Hungary in the final.[1]

Torres trained at the Empire Sporting Club in New York City with trainer Cus D'Amato.[3]

He was the 1958 National AAU Middleweight Champion and also won the 1958 New York Golden Gloves 160 lb Open Championship.

Professional career[edit]

He debuted as a professional in 1958 with a first-round knockout of George Hamilton in New York. Twelve wins in a row followed, ten of them by knockout (including wins over contenders Ike Jenkins and Al Andrews), after which he was able to make his San Juan debut against Benny Paret, a future world welterweight champion from Cuba. Torres and Paret fought to a ten-round draw, and in 1960, Torres went back to campaigning in New York, where he scored three wins that year, all by decision, including two over Randy Sandy.

In 1961, Torres made his hometown debut with a four-round knockout win in a rematch with Hamilton at Ponce. He had six more fights that year, winning all of them by knockout.

Torres kept his knockout streak alive through 1962 with three more knockout wins but, in 1963, he suffered his first loss, being stopped in five by Cuba's Florentino Fernández, the only boxer ever to beat Torres by a knockout as a professional. After that setback, Torres went back to training and had one more fight that year, and that time around, he was able to beat another top contender in Don Fullmer, Gene Fullmer's brother, with a ten-round decision win in New Jersey.

In 1964, Torres beat a group of name boxers, including Jose Gonzalez, Walker Simmons (twice), Frankie Olivera, Gomeo Brennan and former world Middleweight champion Carl Olson (Bobo), taken out in one round. After this, Torres was ranked number 1 among Light Heavyweight challengers, and his title shot would soon arrive.

It happened in 1965 at Madison Square Garden. Torres defeated the International Boxing Hall Of Fame member, and World Light Heavyweight champion Willie Pastrano. In so doing, Torres became the third Puerto Rican world boxing champion in history and the first Latin American to win the world Light Heavyweight title, knocking Pastrano out in round nine. Later that year, he fought a non-title bout versus Tom McNeeley (father of former Mike Tyson rival Peter McNeeley) in San Juan, winning a ten-round decision.

In 1966, he successfully defended his crown three times, with 15-round decisions over Wayne Thornton and Eddie Cotton and a two-round knockout of Chic Calderwood. In his next defense, however, he would lose it to another Hall Of Fame member, Nigeria's Dick Tiger, by a decision in 15 rounds.

In 1967, he and Tiger had a rematch, and Torres lost a 15-round decision again. Many fans thought he should have won it that time, and as a consequence, a large riot followed the fight.[4]

After his second defeat to Tiger, Torres only fought twice more, retiring after 1969.


An active retirement[edit]

In his years after retiring from boxing, he became a representative of the Puerto Rican community in New York, meeting political leaders, giving lectures and becoming the New York State Athletic Commission's Commissioner from 1984 to 1988. In 1986, he was chosen to sing the United States National Anthem before the world Lightweight championship bout between Jimmy Paul and Irleis Perez in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1990 he became President of the WBO, and he was President until 1995. He was also a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Author[edit]

Torres regularly contributed a column to the New York Post (which he obtained with the help of his friend, Pete Hamill), as well as to El Diario La Prensa, a Spanish language newspaper in New York City. He also wrote for The Village Voice. In 1971 he co-authored Sting Like a Bee, a biography of Muhammad Ali.[5] In 1989, he wrote the Mike Tyson biography Fire and Fear: The Inside Story of Mike Tyson (which would be adapted into the 1995 HBO television movie Tyson).[6]

Later years[edit]

In 2007, Torres announced his decision to move back to his hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico and concentrate on writing books and articles related to sports and history. On August 6, 2008, Torres received a recognition for his military career.[7]

Death and legacy[edit]

Torres died in the morning of January 19, 2009, of a heart attack at his home in Ponce, Puerto Rico.[6][8] There are plans to move his remains to the Panteón Nacional Román Baldorioty de Castro, a national pantheon and museum, in Ponce, Puerto Rico.[9] He is also recognized at Ponce's Parque de los Ponceños Ilustres in the area of sports.[10] During his life Torres was the subject of two documentaries by famed Japanese film director Hiroshi Teshigahara.

Professional boxing record[edit]

45 fights 41 wins 3 losses
By knockout 29 1
By decision 12 2
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
45 Win 41–3–1 Charley Green KO 2 (10), 1:31 14 Jul 1969 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
44 Win 40–3–1 Bob Dunlop TKO 6 (10) 1 Apr 1968 Sydney Stadium, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
43 Loss 39–3–1 Dick Tiger SD 15 16 May 1967 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. For WBA, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
42 Loss 39–2–1 Dick Tiger UD 15 16 Dec 1966 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Lost WBA, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
41 Win 39–1–1 Chic Calderwood KO 2 (15), 2:06 15 Oct 1966 Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
40 Win 38–1–1 Eddie Cotton UD 15 15 Aug 1966 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
39 Win 37–1–1 Wayne Thornton UD 15 21 May 1966 Shea Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
38 Win 36–1–1 Tom McNeeley UD 10 31 Jul 1965 Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico
37 Win 35–1–1 Willie Pastrano TKO 9 (15), 3:00 30 Mar 1965 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Won WBA, WBC, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
36 Win 34–1–1 Carl Olson KO 1 (10), 2:51 27 Nov 1964 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
35 Win 33–1–1 Gomeo Brennan MD 10 4 Sep 1964 Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
34 Win 32–1–1 Walker Simmons KO 6 (10) 20 Jul 1964 Sargent Field, New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.
33 Win 31–1–1 Frankie Olivera TKO 5 (10) 22 Jun 1964 Sargent Field, New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.
32 Win 30–1–1 Wilbert McClure UD 10 15 May 1964 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
31 Win 29–1–1 Walker Simmons TKO 8 (10), 2:29 21 Apr 1964 Sunnyside Gardens, New York City, New York, U.S.
30 Win 28–1–1 José Gonzalez UD 10 3 Jan 1964 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
29 Win 27–1–1 Don Fullmer PTS 10 9 Oct 1963 Teaneck Armory, Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
28 Loss 26–1–1 Florentino Fernández TKO 5 (10), 2:07 25 May 1963 Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico
27 Win 26–0–1 Al Hauser TKO 3 (10) 14 Dec 1962 Boston Garden, Boston, U.S.
26 Win 25–0–1 Obdulio Nuñez KO 7 (12) 27 Jul 1962 Estadio Sixto Escobar, San Juan, Puerto Rico Won Puerto Rican middleweight title
25 Win 24–0–1 Jimmy Watkins RTD 7 (10) 10 Apr 1962 Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York, U.S.
24 Win 23–0–1 Tony Montano KO 4 (10) 28 Nov 1961 Houston, Texas, U.S.
23 Win 22–0–1 George Price KO 2 (10), 2:31 31 Oct 1961 Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, U.S.
22 Win 21–0–1 Ike White KO 3 (10), 1:30 27 Jun 1961 Boston Arena, Boston, U.S.
21 Win 20–0–1 Mel Collins KO 7 (10), 0:30 5 Jun 1961 Boston Arena, Boston, U.S.
20 Win 19–0–1 Bob Young TKO 5 (10) 23 May 1961 Boston Arena, Boston, U.S.
19 Win 18–0–1 Bobby Barnes KO 3 (10) 1 Apr 1961 Plaza Ballroom, Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
18 Win 17–0–1 Gene Hamilton TKO 4 (10), 1:21 17 Feb 1961 Estadio Francisco Montaner, Ponce, Puerto Rico
17 Win 16–0–1 Randy Sandy UD 10 11 Jun 1960 Sunnyside Gardens, New York City, New York, U.S.
16 Win 15–0–1 Tony Dupas MD 10 15 Mar 1960 Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
15 Win 14–0–1 Randy Sandy PTS 10 30 Jan 1960 Armory, Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
14 Draw 13–0–1 Benny Paret PTS 10 26 Sep 1959 Estadio Sixto Escobar, San Juan, Puerto Rico
13 Win 13–0 Al Andrews TKO 6 (8), 0:42 26 Jun 1959 Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 Joe Shaw TKO 5 (10), 2:40 23 Apr 1959 Sunnyside Gardens, New York City, New York, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 Leroy Oliphant TKO 3 (10) 19 Mar 1959 Sunnyside Gardens, New York City, New York, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 Eddie Wright TKO 5 (8), 2:10 26 Feb 1959 Sunnyside Gardens, New York City, New York, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 Isaac Jenkins TKO 5 (10) 4 Dec 1958 Sunnyside Gardens, New York City, New York, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 Burke Emery TKO 5 (10), 2:07 3 Nov 1958 St. Nicholas Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 Frankie Anselm KO 9 (10), 2:12 13 Oct 1958 St. Nicholas Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 Otis Woodward TKO 5 (10) 29 Sep 1958 St. Nicholas Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 Benny Doyle KO 1 (6) 18 Aug 1958 Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 Wes Lowry PTS 6 5 Jul 1958 Eastern Parkway Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 Joe Salvato KO 4 (6), 1:40 21 Jun 1958 Eastern Parkway Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 Walter Irby PTS 6 7 Jun 1958 Eastern Parkway Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 Gene Hamilton KO 1 (4) 24 May 1958 Eastern Parkway Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Olympic Sports". Sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 2020-04-18. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  2. ^ Associated Press[dead link]
  3. ^ Brozan, Nadine (1993-10-29). "CHRONICLE". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "A new black eye for boxing". News.google.com. 1967-05-18. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  5. ^ "Induction Weekend: The Class of '97". International Boxing Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  6. ^ a b "Boxing Champion And Author. '' The Washington Post''". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  7. ^ "Reconocimiento a "Cheguí" Torres". Primera Hora (in Spanish). 2008-08-07. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  8. ^ "Former Hall of Fame boxer Jose Torres dies at age 72". International Herald Tribune. Reuters. 2009-01-20. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2014-05-08 – via Web.archive.org.
  9. ^ Juan Alindato y Chegüi Torres al Panteon Nacional Román Baldorioty de Castro, nuestro cementerio museo. Periodico "La Voz de la Playa de Ponce", Edicion 131, October 2010. Page 2.
  10. ^ Sports. TravelPonce.com Retrieved 18 April 2013.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Preceded by WBA light heavyweight champion
30 March 1965 – 16 December 1966
Succeeded by
WBC light heavyweight champion
30 March 1965 – 16 December 1966
The Ring light heavyweight champion
30 March 1965 – 16 December 1966
Undisputed light heavyweight champion
30 March 1965 – 16 December 1966