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January 17, 2013

By Scott Shaffer

According to the WBC, Chucho Castillo and Isidro Perez, two Mexican champions have passed away so far this year. Boxingtalk takes a moment to honor their contributions to the sport.

Former bantamweight champion Chucho Castillo died at age 68 last week from complications after surgery. Castillo turned pro in 1962, losing his first recorded bout. But he persevered and got his first title shot against Lionel Rose in Los Angeles in 1968. In front of 15,000 fans, Castillo floored Rose in a thrilling tenth round but wound up losing a controversial split decision. According to Sports Illustrated's ringside report, "Almost every round was extremely close and difficult to judge, but Rose did win by a trifle. Then there was the riot, which turned [the venue] into an ugly mess. Entire rows of seats were torn up and flung recklessly in the direction of the ring. Fires were set. Whiskey bottles were flung, spectators and officials were cut and bruised and, outside in the parking lot, automobiles were overturned, set afire and their windows smashed and tires slashed." Because of the riot, Sports Illustrated wrongly predicted that Castillo "may not be seen in these parts again, his career ruined by the excesses of his countrymen." In fact, Castillo became the world bantamweight champion by stopping Mexican rival Ruben Olivares in the fourteenth round 1970.  Castillo lost his title in 1971 in a rematch against Olivares. Castillo fought on through 1975, returning to Los Angeles to get stoped by Bobby Chacon. Castillo retired at 47-18-2.

Perez suffered a depressing end, turning up dead in Mexico City at age 48. His family had not heard from him since September. Perez turned pro in 1979 and lost two 108-pound title shots in the late 80s. With the WBO yet to emerge as a major sanctioning body, Perez won the vacant WBO 112-pound title in 1990 from Angel Rosario, who was just 11-5 at the time. He made two defenses then lost the title to Pat Clinton in 1992 by split decision in Clinton's native Scotland. Perez's career was effectively over, although he lost two more times and finished his career with a record of 57-9-3.

May Castillo and Perez rest in peace.

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