Cuban boxer Jose ‘Mantequilla’ Napoles, two time welterweight world champion, dies at 79

Rest in peace, Mantequilla.

Via Boxing Scene:

Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles Passes Away at The Age of 79

Two time welterweight world champion Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles died on Friday in Mexico City aged 79, the World Boxing Council announced on its website.

Cuba-born Napoles forged a Hall of Fame career, with a record of 81-7, including 54 knockouts.

He was granted Mexican citizenship in 1969 after beating Texan Curtis Cokes in a world title fight.

Napoles’ final bout was a losing one in front of 40,000 fans against Briton John H Stracey, who paid tribute to his former rival on Friday.

“I’m so very proud to have shared a ring with the great Jose Napoles,” Stracey said.

“What a magnificent fighter he was and what a great champion. Look how long he reigned as a champion. This is such a sad day.”

“Mantequilla” was born on April 13, 1940 in Santiago de Cuba, but as a young man he traveled to Mexico, and was soon thrilling fans with his lion hearted power and steadfast courage, so much so that they promptly adopted him as one of their very own. 

The then president of Mexico, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, granted him Mexican nationality, exactly one day after he was crowned world welterweight champion, by defeating Texan Curtis Cokes on points, on April 18, 1969, at the Inglewood Forum, in a promotion by George Parnassus.

During his career, “Mantequilla” defeated the best fighters of his era, including Curtis Cokes, Emile Griffith, Ernie Lopez and Alfredo Urbina. 

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