Carlos Palomino: Mexico’s Welterweight Boxing Legend

Vince Lombardi once said “Winning isn’t everything, its the only thing”. For most of the mainstream sports media, that couldn’t be more true. Countless hours on sports talk radio are spent deriding NBA players like Charles Barkley and NFL players like Dan Marino for never winning a championship. Simply stated, no one remembers the runner up and the mainstream sports media helps reinforce this ‘frontrunner’ mentality.

At the same time, the mainstream sports media takes every opportunity available to bash boxing, but the reality is that the ‘sweet science’ more so than any other professional sport places a great emphasis on the quality of a fight as much as its eventual outcome. Fights like the Gatti-Ward trilogy, Hagler-Hearns, Hagler-Leonard are considered classics, and in most cases were very tightly contested bouts. A great case in point is the 2004 ‘fight of the year’ between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquaio. Despite nonstop action, the official verdict in the bout was a draw.

In that context, an undefeated record for a veteran fighter is almost a mark of derision. After a fighter has a dozen fights or so under his belt, an undefeated record is often construed as a reflection of a poor quality of opposition and not a sign of dominance. There are exceptions, of course: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has a zero in the loss column and thats due to his ungodly skills as a prize fighter. Assuming that Mayweather doesn’t stay in the game longer than he should, hes got a decent shot at retiring undefeated. Nevertheless, simply being undefeated wont earn him the mantle of greatness in the eyes of boxing historians. That has to be earned in the ring.

For a combination of accomplishment and championships, along with class and humility, few fighters can match welterweight great Carlos Palomino. A native of Sonora, Mexico, Palomino held the welterweight title for two years during the late’70’s. While he was champion, he earned his college degree from Long Beach State University in California and in the process became the first reigning world champion to do so.

Palomino came to the United States when he was ten and, like many Mexican immigrants, started to train as a boxer during his teenage years. He displayed a good deal of skill at an early age, but delayed becoming a professional until after a 2 year stint in the Army where he was the All-Army Welterweight Champion. He also won the national AAU championship in’72 before turning pro later that year. He was brought along slowly and steadily despite a decision loss to Andy Price in’74. By the middle of the decade he had put himself into championship contention and finally won the title in June’76. Palomino scored a TKO victory over Englishman John Stracey in a very hostile environment (London, England) and became the WBC Welterweight Champion. He defended his title seven times over the next two years, before dropping the belt to a hall of fame level opponent in Wilfred Benitez in a split decision (January’79). He lost his next bout to another hall of fame fighter in Roberto Duran and decided to hang up his gloves. He made a short comeback in the late’90s, posting a 4-1 record before retiring for good.

Palomino turned his attention to acting following his boxing career, and has worked steadily in a variety of roles both in movies (mostly forgettable action films) and television (shows like Taxi, Star Trek Voyager, Highway to Heaven and Hill Street Blues). He appeared in some of the early Miller Light tastes great/less filling TV commercials. Hes also done some live theater work, in addition to generating publicity for a number of charities.

In the ring, Palomino wasn’t the typical Mexican fighter stereotype. He was an intelligent, very tactically sound fighter with underrated power and a lethal left hook. More typically, however, he was a fighter who’d break his opponent down slowly with a punishing body attack. Despite not being a typical straight ahead power puncher like so many of his countrymen, he’s no doubt among the greatest Mexican boxers in history.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and noted authority on sports betting Uk marriage visa odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and Uk marriage visa betting odds portal sites. He lives in Northern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.

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