Eder Jofre, the greatest boxer in Brazilian history and arguably the finest bantamweight to ever lace up the gloves, died yesterday of pneumonia at the age of 86.
“The Golden Bantam” started his career 47-0-3, racking up notable wins over former Olympic rival Claudio Barrientos and Mexican superstar Jose Medel along the way. Then came the most famous battles of his career, a pair of ultra-competitive losses to Japanese great Fighting Harada that sandwiched a draw with Manny Elias.
Those would be the last times Jofre failed to emerge victorious as a professional. Seven years after that second defeat to Harada, three of which he spent retired, Jofre moved up to 126 to defeat reigning champion Jose Legra for the WBC featherweight title. He would fight on for another three years, scoring a knockout of Vicente Saldivar in his lone defense, before hanging up the gloves in 1976 with a record of 72-2-4 (50 KO).
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.
Jofre was unquestionably one of the 20th century’s greatest boxers, and though his death is supremely tragic, it warms the heart to know that he lived a rich, full life both in and out of the ring. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.