The WBA is reporting the death of former WBA featherweight champion Ernesto “Ñato” Marcel. In 1974, the Panama-born Marcel defeated Alexis Arguello, a future Hall of Famer, and promptly retired as champion. Marcel was 72 years old and had been battling various health conditions for several months. Marcel was born in 1948 and made his professional boxing debut in 1966 at the age of 18. He lived a life linked to sports; he played basketball during his childhood and adolescence, until he discovered his talent for boxing in 1964 after he was not selected for a basketball team that would tour San Andres. At 22, Marcel was stopped by a young Roberto Duran. But Marcel persisted, and on August 19th, 1972, he won the WBA featherweight title on the road, defeating Venezuela's Antonio Gómez by a majority decision in Maracay, Venezuela. He made four defenses of his championship: a rematch against Gomez and wins over Spider Nemoto, future 130-pound champion Sammy Serrano, and then Arguello. His win over Argüello came by unanimous decision in 1974.
Marcel retired with a pro record of 40-4-2. Boxingtalk joins the WBA in sending condolences to the family and friends of Ernesto Marcel.