International Boxing Hall of Fame

Willie Pastrano

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�Willie was a great athlete, but keeping that guy in shape was a pain in the butt. We had been together since 1952 when he was just a 16-year old kid. Willie and I had a lot in common. We were both of Italian extraction, we both loved Italian food and we were both married, although Willie never let his wife interfere with his idea of marriage. I once asked him what Faye would do if she caught him fooling around. He was quite serious when he answered that it was a compliment to Faye, he missed her so much he had to have substitutes.�

-- Trainer Angelo Dundee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wilfred Raleigh Pastrano (November 27, 1935December 6, 1997) was a light heavyweight boxer who held the world crown from 1963 until 1965.

Early life

Pastrano was born in New Orleans. Pastrano's best friend, Ralph Dupas started training in boxing at a local gym. Pastrano, who weighed over 250 pounds, decided to start working out with his friend.

As Willie lost weight, he realized two things. First, he loved boxing. Second, he hated getting hit. So, Pastrano developed a style of boxing in which he hardly got hit, and in return, tried not to hurt his opponent as well.

Pastrano was already married as a teenager, and by 1962, he and his wife Faye, had five children; John (born 1955), Donna (1957), Frank (1959), Nicholas (1960), and Angelo (1962).

Pro career

Pastrano began his career at the age of 16. He fought many heavyweights and outpointed heavyweight contenders Rex Layne, Brian London and Tom McNeeley.

The talented Pastrano won the light heavyweight championship when he outpointed the great Harold Johnson on a close 15 round decision. He successfully defended his crown by stopping Gregorio Peralta of Argentina on a TKO, and by coming back from a certain defeat on points to KO English challenger Terry Downes in 11 rounds in Manchester, England. Pastrano lost his crown when he was TKOed by Jose Torres in 10 rounds. In the Torres fight, Pastrano was knocked down for the only time in his career by a powerful left hook to the kidney. Pastrano retired after that match and never fought again.

Managed by the legendary Angelo Dundee, Pastrano was a smooth, quick boxer with a great left hand. He was a stablemate of Cassius Clay and often sparred with the future champion early in Clay's career. His talent was dissipated by his aversion to training and a fondness for partying and carousing. Nevertheless, he defeated most of the light heavyweight challengers of his generation. He also outpointed former light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim, and boxed a draw with the legendary Archie Moore. He retired with a record of 63 wins (14 by KO), 13 losses and 8 draws.

Preceded by
Harold Johnson
World Light Heavyweight Champion
1 Jun 1963�30 Mar 1965
Succeeded by
Jose Torres