January 24, 2000
Former Junior Welterweight Champion Antonio Cervantes has been named
Colombia's boxer of the Century by the Colombian Boxing Federation and the
National Commision of Professional Boxing. In recognition of this, the WBA
has issed a special championship belt to Cervantes.
Cervantes, whose ring moniker was Kid Pambelé, is currently a trainer in the
mountain town of Pasto, in southwest Colombia. Cervantes was born on
December 23, 1945 in Palenque, better known as the the site of a guerrilla
stronghold that headquartered the first slave rebellion in the New World. As
a boy, Cervantes struggled to better his life by shining shoes and selling
Boxing trainer Carmelo Prada took Cervantes under his wing and developed his
boxing skills. His pupil hadjust 3 amateur fights (2 wins and a loss) before
turning professional at age 19. In 1968, he relocated to Caracas, Venezuela
in order to obtain more and better fights. His promotor in Caracas, Ramiro
Machado, took Cervantes to Los Angeles in 1970, where he impressed with two
excellent wins: a kayo of future title claimant Rodolfo Gonzales and a
stoppage of tough Argentinian Enrique Janna which landed him in the ratings
for the first time.
In December 1971 he lost a 15-round title fight to Niccolino Loche. Loche
then lost to Panamanian Alfonso "Peppermint" Frazer. In October, 1972,
Cervantes got a shot against Frazer and made the most of it -- stopping the
agressive champion in the tenth round. Frazer recently recalled "I was in
good shape to win, except that I went up against a giant who was born that
Kid Pambelé held the title through five defenses, then lost to whiz-kid
Wilfredo Benitez. After Benitez moved up to welter, Cervantes reclaimed a
portion of the title the title and held it through August 1980, when the
then 35-year-old Kid was stopped by Aaron Pryor.
Cervantes retired in December 1983 after a 10-round loss in Miami, ending his
career at 91-12-3 (45 kayos) acording to the CBZ, or 66-12-1 (37 kayos)
according to just about everyone else. THe International Boxing Hall of Fame
inducted him in 1998.
Read the CBZ record of Antonio Cervantes.