Obituaries

Boxing Champion And Author

José Torres, right, lands a right to the face of Wayne Thornton in 1966.
José Torres, right, lands a right to the face of Wayne Thornton in 1966. (Associated Press)
Associated Press
Saturday, January 24, 2009

José Torres, 72, a former light heavyweight world champion and Olympic silver medalist, died Jan. 19 at his home in Ponce, Puerto Rico, after a heart attack.

Mr. Torres won the light heavyweight title in 1965 by stopping Willie Pastrano at Madison Square Garden in New York. He made three title defenses before losing a close decision to Dick Tiger in 1966. He finished with a record of 41-3-1, with 29 knockouts.

Mr. Torres, who was born near Ponce, began fighting when he joined the U.S. Army as a teenager. He won a silver medal as a light middleweight at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, competing for the United States.

After retiring in 1969, he became a representative of New York's Puerto Rican community, chaired the New York State Athletic Commission in the 1980s and served as supervisor for the World Boxing Organization.

He wrote boxing biographies of Muhammad Ali ("Sting Like a Bee," 1971, co-authored with Bert Randolph Sugar) and Mike Tyson ("Fire & Fear," 1989).

Mr. Torres was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.

Survivors include his wife, Ramonita Ortiz of Ponce.


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