Los Vatos

showtime boxingBy Ted Sares: Hey vatos; Do you know who the best fighter in the world is pound for pound? Hands down, vatos, hands down! Los jabs, los hooks, los uppercuts...Mando Ramos!" --Edward James Olmos' 1992 film, "American Me".

He was a man of many great qualities…He had the rough and tough outer exterior of a fighter. But inside, he had a pure heart and a gentle soul. He was a great champion in the ring, but he was an even greater champion in life. He helped a lot of inner-city kids. --Mando Ramos Jr.

The California boxing connection is a strong one and the ex-boxers meet regularly. When Mando Ramos sadly passed away this week, the connection evidenced itself front and center. Superstars such as, Alberto Davila, the Baltazar boys, the Sandoval's, Bobby Chacon, Frankie Duarte, Paul Gonzalez, Danny “Little Red “ Lopez, Arturo Frias, Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, and Oscar DeLaHoya expressed their grief and shock..

Many of these fighters came out of the Los Angeles Junior Golden Gloves tournaments. All became world class professionals. Some became World Champions. Frankie Baltazar, 40-3-1, was one tough duded and so was his brother Tony “The Tiger,”38-7-1. Both were inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006, along with Carlos Palomino

Rudolfo “El Gato” Gonzalez finished with a career mark of 81-7 (70 KOs) and won the WBC lightweight title in 1972 when he stopped rugged Chango Carmona in 13 rounds. “El Gato” was an immensely popular boxer who performed regularly to overflow crowds at the Olympic Auditorium.

John Jr. Montes, exciting bomber Jaime Garza, Ruben “The Maravilla Kid” Navarro, Raul Rojas, Paul Vaden, Alberto “Superfly” Sandoval and many others too numerous to list thrilled fans in the Los Angeles. Area for years as did the late Keeny Teran and Art Aragon.

Mando Ramos-Sugar Ramos-1970

showtime boxingMando Ramos was pure 100% L.A fighter. Indeed, twenty-seven of his forty-nine fights were held in the storied Olympic Auditorium. There was something special about him; he was able to connect with and capture the hearts of Mexican-American boxing like few others. Enrique Bolanos, Art Aragon, Keeny Teran, Danny Lopez and Bobby Chacon did it as well. And like Jerry Quarry, he had an abundance of charisma. Lopez and Chacon and even Aragon before them were tremendous box-office attractions, but what was really incredible was that by just the age of eighteen, young Mando virtually owned the Olympic.

On February 18, 1969, Ramos avenged an earlier defeat by stopping Carlos Teo Cruz in the eleventh round. This occurred three months after his 20th birthday and made him the youngest boxer in history to win the World Lightweight Championship.

The rest of the story reads like a roller coaster ride and while it needs to be told, this is a time to mourn someone special, someone who was a beloved member of Los Vatos. Suffice it to say that after checking himself into a rehabilitation clinic in the early '80s, he became clean and sober and remained so the last twenty-five years. He started Boxing Against Alcohol and Drugs (BAAD).

Rest in Peace.

Article posted on 08.07.2008

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