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Jose "Chegui" Torres: 1936-2009

I kept putting this off because I hate writing about deaths, plus Jose's career was one that I've only read about. I knew him as a commentator for the sport, and as a great champion by reputation, and as one of Puerto Rico's finest.

Torres' professional career spanned 1958-69. He won a junior middleweight silver medal at the 1956 Olympic games, and won the WBC and WBA light heavyweight titles from Willie Pastrano as a professional. Trained by the legendary Cus D'Amato, he was 41-3-1 (29) as a pro, two of his losses coming against the great Dick Tiger, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.

He was also an author, writing a book about Mike Tyson in 1987 (Fire and Fear) and a biography of Muhammad Ali (Sting Like a Bee). He served as the NYSAC Commissioner from 1984-88. He sang the U.S. national anthem before a fight between Jimmy Paul and Irleis Perez in 1986. He served in the military. He was a renaissance man.

He passed away this past Monday in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the result of a heart attack. The boxing world will miss him dearly, and can only thank him for his vast contributions to the sport.


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