World Boxing Council International Champion and No. 1 Mandatory Contender
Born on April 30, 1971, in Santa Fe, Argentina
Height: 5’ 9” – Weight: Welterweight (147)
Record: 41-9-6 (12 KOs)
His passport has been punched more than he has. And no matter what he achieves in the ring, Carlos Manuel "Tata" Baldomir knows, at best, he can only become the second most-famous boxer from his hometown.
However, the recently signed Sycuan Ringside Promotions boxer is getting a shot at World Boxing Council welterweight champion Zab “Super” Judah after taking the young and highly touted Miguel Angel Rodriguez (26-1, 21 KOs) to school, scoring a lopsided unanimous decision on May 21 at the United Center in Chicago.
The 34-year-old Baldomir, from Santa Fe, Argentina, is happier than ever before.
"I feel as though I have the right promoter at the right time," the soft-spoken pugilist said. "Sycuan has come into my life just when it is my time to win a world championship at 147 pounds. Some things in life are meant to be.
"I accept the fact that I, along with every boxer from my country and my hometown, can only toil in the shadow of the great Carlos Monzon. I am reminded of Monzon's greatness every day in the gym because my trainer, Amilcar Brusa, was Monzon's trainer and teacher. Monzon was a legend and so is (octogenarian) Amilcar."
Monzon (87-3-9, 59 KOs) died too early after a car crash at just age 52. His ring exploits, including a record 14 consecutive successful middleweight world title defenses that held for decades until Bernard “The Executioner” recently surpassed that mark, resulted in his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Surprisingly, Monzon’s long shadow is not a hang-up for the clever-boxing and remarkably persistent Baldomir.
"I could never have had Monzon's career," Baldomir said. "I have had a different, more difficult path, but now I can see the mountain top."
“We’re excited about Carlos fighting for the WBC welterweight title,” said Glenn Quiroga, president of Sycuan Ringside Promotions of San Diego.
“We’re aware this is a very tough fight against a skillful champion in Zab Judah,” continued Quiroga. “But Carlos wasn’t supposed to beat Rodriguez in May, either. Carlos’ work ethic and experience prevailed against Rodriguez, and we hope it will against Judah as well.”
Baldomir, who is managed by Javier Zapata and trains in Los Angeles, indeed, has taken a circuitous route to the pinnacle of the 147-pound WBC rankings. He had to take fights as an unwelcome visitor in eight countries on four continents along the way to compiling a 41-9-6 record. And he only has the power of a pop gun as attested to by his mere 12 knockouts. By contrast, Monzon stood a towering 6-2 and had a pulverizing punch to go along with his other natural ring skills.
"But I get the job done, and I will win the world championship,” said Baldormir. “I will bring the green and gold WBC belt back to my wife and children in Santa Fe."
Few gave Baldomir a chance to win his most recent bout against Rodriguez—a Don King-promoted fighter—in a WBC elimination bout to determine the No. 1 challenger to Judah, the undisputed welterweight world champion.
Rodriguez came in from Mexico sporting a 26-1 record. Many believed the younger, more muscular fighter would defeat the plodding but plucky Argentine.
"But Carlos took Miguel to school in that fight," said Scott Woodworth, vice president of Sycuan Ringside Promotions. "Rodriguez had his moments and he never gave up, but Carlos was in control through the first eight rounds. The kid came on with too little, too late. You could see the difference in maturity and experience." And so could all three judges, who awarded a 12-round unanimous decision to Baldomir.
This will be Baldomir’s first world championship fight, but, certainly, not his first title bout. More than one-quarter of his 56 fights since turning pro during 1993 have been 12-round contests for welterweight or super lightweight championships. Baldomir was the International Boxing Council junior welterweight and welterweight champ and has been the WBC International welterweight champion since 1999.
But there remains only one ring legend from Santa Fe, and Baldomir, a modest man of considerable ability, knows this.
"Monzon was and always will be a giant," Baldomir said. "If they only mention me as another boxer from Santa Fe who won a world title, I can accept that. If they only say I was another boxing student of Professor Brusa, I can accept that."
How do you say "Cinderella Man" en espanol?