Chapter Sixteen Ya Gotta Love the Little Guys
At the dawn of the Decade of the Seventies, a pretty good Scottish lightweight ruled the division. Ken Buchanan was his name and he twice beat another pretty good lightweight named Ismael Laguna. On June 26, 1972 his world came crashing down at the overwhelming fury of a Panamanian pugilist named Roberto Duran. After a decidedly low blow that dropped Buchanan to the canvas in pain at the conclusion of round thirteen, the referee awarded the fight and the lightweight title to Duran who was ahead on points. Roberto went on to become the outstanding boxer of the decade over such luminaries as Muhammed Ali, Carlos Monzon and Jose Napoles, so much so that he became recognized at the greatest lightweight champion in history, at least in my opinion as well as that of many others. Barring a lone non-title loss which he later reversed for the title, Duran held the lightweight title for six years and defended it twelve times. He never lost the championship, but abandoned it when he moved up to welterweight; a move that climaxed with a win over Sugar Ray Leonard for the lineal welterweight title.
Following the featherweight reigns of Kuniaki Shibata, Clemente Sanchez and Jose Legra, the title went Eder Jofre. As previously noted, Eder Jofre may have been the greatest bantamweight champion in history. A decade later, he may have slipped slightly, but he was still good enough to win the lineal Featherweight Championship from Legra on May 5, 1973.
What a lot of great fighters the little guys produced in the Seventies! Alexis Arguello, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Vicente Saldivar, Salvador Sanchez, Ruben Olivarez, Alphonse Zamora, Carlos Zarate, Miguel Canto and too many others to mention in this space. You will have to read the book to find out more!
More excerpts from this book coming soon! Stay tuned.