Hall of Fame Friday: Jose Torres
Birthdate: May 3, 1936
Date of Death: Jan. 19, 2009
Birthplace: Playa Ponce, Puerto Rico
Weight Classes: Middleweight, light heavyweight
Professional Record: 41-3-1 (29 knockouts)
Titles Held: World light heavyweight (March 30, 1965-Dec. 16, 1966)
Best Performances: Gomeo Brennan (W 10), Bobo Olson (KO 1), Willie Pastrano (KO 9), Wayne Thornton (W 15), Eddie Cotton (W 15), Chic Calderwood (KO 2) Ike Jenkins (KO 5), Benny Paret (D 10), Randy Sandy (W 10), Don Fullmer (W 10), Jose Gonzalez (W 10), Frankie Olivera (KO 5).
Year of IBHOF Induction: 1997
Background: Was a street tough who wanted to turn his life around by enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he discovered boxing ÔÇª Won several Inter-Service amateur titles while in the army ÔÇª Light middleweight silver medalist in 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, representing United States, losing to Hungary’s Laszlo Papp in the finals ÔÇª Won pro debut in May ’58 with first-round KO victory ÔÇª Stopped 11 of first 13 opponents ÔÇª Fought future welterweight world champion Benny Paret to 10-round draw in September ’59 ÔÇª Career growth and title shot retarded by the trainer Cus D’Amato’s reluctance to deal with dubious International Boxing Club, which ran Madison Square Garden ÔÇª Suffered first career loss to Florentino Fernandez in May ’63 ÔÇª Rebounded with eight-fight win streak ÔÇª Began streak with 10-round decision over contender Don Fullmer in October ’63 ÔÇª First-round KO victory over Bobo Olson in November ’64 set up light heavyweight title shot ÔÇª Became first Hispanic to win world light heavyweight title, stopping Willie Pastrano in ninth round in May ’65 ÔÇª Made three successful title defenses against Thornton, Cotton and Calderwood ÔÇª Title reign ended with unanimous-decision loss to Dick Tiger in December ’66 ÔÇª Lost rematch to Tiger by split decision in May ’67 ÔÇª Closed career by stopping Charley Green in two rounds in July ’69 ÔÇª Perfected D’Amato’s peek-a-boo, hands-held-high style ÔÇª Effective combination puncher ÔÇª Remained heavily involved with boxing after retirement ÔÇª Served as New York State Athletic Commissioner from ’84 to ’88 ÔÇª Authored Sting Like A Bee, a biography of Muhammad Ali, and Fire And Fear about Mike Tyson ÔÇª Died Jan. 19, 2009, at age 72 of a heart attack at his home in Ponce, Puerto Rico.