Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mando Ramos & Raul Rojas, 1970 . . .

By Rick Farris

A bitterness had developed many years earlier. When Mando was young, Rojas would pound his stablemate brutally.
As Mando grew in size and ability, their gyms wars would equal bouts of a championship level.
They didn't like each other. In time, Raul Rojas would win the world featherweight title.
Ramos was a rising star, and shadowing the newly crowned world champ. The bitteness grew.

At 19, Ramos would challenge Teo Cruz for the lightweight title.
In a co-main event, Rojas would make his first featherweight title defense against Shozo Saijyo of Japan.
Jackie McCoy took both boxers to camp in Santa Ana, California.
At night, after McCoy had turned in, Rojas and Ramos would go out. It was margaritas and senioritas.
Ramos would lose in his first attempt to become the youngest lightweight champion in history.
Ramos would lose his featherweight title and take a whipping in the process. Raul's swollen, cut face was unrecognizable.

Mando regrouped and a few months later stopped Teo Cruz to win the title at age twenty.
More angry than ever, Rojas left the Jackie McCoy stable.

Fast forward nearly two years to 1970, and Ramos has lost the lightweight title to Ismael Laguna, a year after winning it.
He came back to engage Sugar Ramos in one of the best fights ever held at the Olympic, winning a unanimous decision.
Ramos was cut to ribbons and underwent surgery to remove the scartissue.

1970 wasn't good for Rojas. He lost to Sugar Ramos, Ruben Navarro and Yoshiaki Numata.
Rojas still had one big payday looming and that would be with his former stablemate Ramos.
It would be an equally profitable fight for Mando.
A win puts him back in line for a title shot and, most important, settle a score.

The bout was signed and the fighters started training. Mando had given up alcohol, and all drugs, "even weed", he boasted.
Rojas was talking tough in the papers, calling Ramos a coward, etc.

A few weeks before the match, Mando and Stella Ramos' little boy, Armando Jr. celebrated his first birthday.
Mando decided to throw a birthday party for his baby son, but said it was really for the adults, of course.
He hired one of the best Mexican bands to play at the party and invited Jackie & Shirley McCoy.
Mando knew if Jackie was there he would be on his best behavior.

The party was going along nicely and everybody having a good time when McCoy sees Raul Rojas step into the room.
The manager could see trouble and went to Mando, letting him know Rojas was in the house.

Mando told me approached Rojas and invited him to join the party, told him he was welcome.
Rojas told Mando he needed to speak with him, in private. Mando excused himself from the party and went outside with Rojas.

Mando said Raul got very emotional, told him he was just talking big in the papers to pump up the box office.
He told Ramos that this was going to be his last fight and wanted to cash out big.
He said he had not trained a day for the fight and planned on laying down after a few rounds.
He asked Mando if he would "take it easy" on him, before he laid down.

Mando put his arm around Rojas, told him he'd take it easy and not to worry about anything.
"I invited Raul to stick around and enjoy the party, but he said he was to embarrassed to stay, and he left right away."

Mando returned to the party and told a suspicious Jackie McCoy that "everything was OK."
Shortly afterwards, McCoy and his wife left. Mando told me the first thing he did was light up a joint.
Mando told me that he partied hard for more than a week. Booze, cocaine, weed, etc. He missed days at the gym.

One day he wanders into the gym and Jackie McCoy was livid.
"What in the hell are you doing? Rojas is working his ass off, reports say Raul is in the best shape in years!"
It suddenly occured to Mando he'd been had.
Ramos got himself together, as best possible, and somehow came into the fight in good condition.

At the opening bell, Rojas was out for blood. Ramos gave him a whipping.

3 comments:

Rebekah Rojas said...

Raul Rojas was more then just a boxing champion, or a gang member, or an addict, or long shoreman...he is and always will be MY DADDY. He passed away May 21st, and on Fathers Day just days that he had been layed to rest...he was forgotten by his ex-wife maria garcia, and his first born lupita rojAS. I CRIED AT HIS GRAVE SIDE THAT IN JUST DAYS ..HE WAS FORGOTTEN....but not by me REBEKAH OFELIA ROJAS...I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL I LEGALLY BRING MY DADDY HOME TO REST BY MY SIDE,.

Rebekah Rojas said...

Raul Rojas was more then just a boxing champion, or a gang member, or an addict, or long shoreman...he is and always will be MY DADDY. He passed away May 21st, and on Fathers Day just days that he had been layed to rest...he was forgotten by his ex-wife maria garcia, and his first born lupita rojAS. I CRIED AT HIS GRAVE SIDE THAT IN JUST DAYS ..HE WAS FORGOTTEN....but not by me REBEKAH OFELIA ROJAS...I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL I LEGALLY BRING MY DADDY HOME TO REST BY MY SIDE,.

Anonymous said...

I remember your father. He would teach my brother and I at the Wilmington teen center.