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Carlos Palomino: Mexico's Welterweight Boxing Legend

Carlos Palomino: Mexico's Welterweight Boxing Legend


    

Carlos Palomino: Mexico's Welterweight Boxing Legend

by Jason Pettygrove

Its not whether you win or lose, its how you play the game. That may be the oldest sports cliche in the world, but for the mainstream sports media, and the fans that depend on them for their information, its just not true. Its all about whether you win or lose. Turn on any sports talk radio show and youll be subjected to all manner of banal discussion to reinforce my point. Karl Malone and Dan Marino werent truly great because they never won a championship. The Utah Jazz and Buffalo Bills werent great teams because they were unable to take their sports ultimate honor. If teams and players arent being berated for a failure to win, theyre simply forgotten. If you can name the losing team in the past ten NBA championships youve got a disturbing knowledge of meaningless sports trivia.

The mainstream sports media also likes to depict boxing as a repository of sleaze, but the reality is that more so than other sports 'the sweet science' cares about 'how the game is played'. Boxing pundits place great emphasis on the competitive quality of a fight--great fights like the Morales-Barrera trilogy, Hagler-Hearns or Hagler-Leonard are considered such for the heart and resolve shown by the fighters, not because of who won. The 2004 fight between current 'pound for pound' king Manny Pacquaio and Juan Manuel Marquez is a perfect example--despite breathtaking action from start to finish the fight was ultimately ruled a draw.

At a certain point in a fighters' career, they can even be criticized for having an undefeated record. While exceptions are made for the best of the best--Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Rocky Marciano come to mind--having a 'zero' in the loss column often reflects poorly on a fighter's willingness to fight high level competition. Even for the best fighters, an undefeated record alone does little to guarantee a place in boxing history. Certainly, that is of much less significance that the manner in which these victories were earned.

For a combination of accomplishment and championships, along with class and humility, few fighters can match welterweight great Carlos Palomino. A native of Sonora, Mexico, Palomino held the welterweight title for two years during the late 1970's. While he was champion, he earned his college degree from Long Beach State University in California and in the process became the first reigning world champion to do so.

Palomino came to the United States when he was ten and, like many Mexican immigrants, started to train as a boxer during his teenage years. He displayed a good deal of skill at an early age, but delayed becoming a professional until after a 2 year stint in the Army where he was the All-Army Welterweight Champion. He also won the national AAU championship in 1972 before turning pro later that year. He was brought along slowly and steadily despite a decision loss to Andy Price in 1974. By the middle of the decade he had put himself into championship contention and finally won the title in June 1976. Palomino scored a TKO victory over Englishman John Stracey in a very hostile environment (London, England) and became the WBC Welterweight Champion. He defended his title seven times over the next two years, before dropping the belt to a hall of fame level opponent in Wilfred Benitez in a split decision (January 1979). He lost his next bout to another hall of fame fighter in Roberto Duran and decided to hang up his gloves. He made a short comeback in the late 1990s, posting a 4-1 record before retiring for good.

After his boxing career ended, Palomino took on another challenge as an actor. He's worked steadily both in movies and television, appearing in shows like "Taxi" and "Hill Street Blues" along with countless action films. He's done a number of commercials, live theater work and has always devoted a lot of his time to charitable causes.

As a fighter, Palomino was much more technical and deliberate than the 'blood and guts' stereotype of a Mexican fighter. He had deceptive power, and a left hook that could end a fight, but would more often break his opponent down over the course of a fight with a punishing body attack and relentless pace. While he might not fit the mold established by men like Julio Cesar Chavez and Erik Morales, Palomino no doubt rates among them as one of the greatest fighters in the proud history of Mexican boxing legends.

About the Author:
Ross Everett is a staff handicapper for a number of offshore sports books and an authority on horse race betting . He's a noted expert on sports handicapping theory, as well as financial investment strategy. He contributes to a number of websites providing insight on how to bet on UFC, MMA and boxing.


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