Boxer Jose Torres Autographed Boxing Posed Photo – 2004
José (“Chegüi”) Torres (May 3, 1936 – January 19, 2009), was a Puerto Rican professional boxer. As an amateur boxer, he won a silver medal in the junior middleweight at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. In 1965, he defeated Willie Pastrano to win the WBC and WBA light heavyweight championships. In 1997, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Born in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Torres began boxing when he joined the U.S. Army as a teenager (he was 18 years old). His only amateur titles had come in Army and Inter-Service championships, several of which he had won. Torres had said that Owen Thomas was his idol. 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. Torres trained at the Empire Sporting Club in New York City. He was the 1958 National AAU Middleweight Champion and also won the 1958 New York Golden Gloves 160 lb Open Championship.
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 Kid Paret, a world welterweight and Middleweight champion whose death after a fight would later on become one of the turning points in the history of boxing. 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 Fullmers’ 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. In 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 Willie Pastrano out in round nine. Later that year, he fought a non-title bout versus Tom Mc Neeley (father of former Mike Tyson rival Peter Mc Neeley) 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. After his second defeat to Tiger, Torres only fought twice more, retiring after 1969.