Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Chapter Fourteen The Sixties Part II Lightweights of the Nineteen Sixties
When the new decade rolled in on January 1, 1961 professional boxing was in a pretty good state in the lighter divisions. Joe Brown had been the lightweight champion since 1956 and would continue for another year. Another great lightweight boxer was waiting in the wings; Puerto Rican Carlos Ortiz. In Panama a young featherweight named Ismael Laguna was beginning his career that would ultimately lead him to the lightweight division and the world title, while in Sao Paolo, Brazil a young bantamweight named Edre Jofre was beginning is Hall of Fame career.
In 1962 Carlos Ortiz beat Joe Brown in a rather cautious fight and went on to defend successfully until 1965. Along with Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, Wilfredo Gomez, Hector Camacho and Wilfred Benitez, Ortiz is considered among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time. He lost the title briefly to smooth boxing Panamanian Ismael Laguna but regained the title the same year and held until 1968 when he lost it to Carlos Teo Cruz who lost it to Mando Ramos who lost it to Ismael Laguna who lost it to Ken Buchanan. A word here about Mando Ramos: Mando was the first fighter (Perhaps since Georges Carpentier) to draw hordes of women to the fights. When a Mando Ramos fight was held in Los Angeles, movie stars such as John Wayne, Bill Cosby, Kirk Douglas, Liz Taylor and Connie Stevens attended. Women from all walk of life caught Mandomania and Hollywood loved “The Wonder Boy.”
The Decade saw a number of outstanding featherweights, bantamweights and flyweights; more than I can list in this space. I do have to mention the great Brazilian bantamweight Eder Jofre who I proudly rate as the number one bantamweight of all-time.
More excerpts from this book coming soon! Stay tuned.