Thursday, March 06, 2008

Felipe Torres

Last Sunday, March 2nd, 2008, the following letter was posted on our message board on the Main Street Gym entry. It is from the brother of Felipe Torres, Epifanio Z. Torres. You may or may not remember but I wrote briefly about my experience sparring with him during the 1970's. They didn't make them any tougher than Felipe. Mr. Torres informs me that his brother Felipe passed away in 1993 under difficult circumstances. Our condolences to the entire Torres family.

My time with Felipe was brief, a couple of years at best. I never forgot him. How do you forget a man that taught you some of life's hardest lessons. He forced me to learn to stand my ground, taught me how to endure pain, forced me to learn how to slip a punch, and out of desperation taught me how to use the jab to keep an opponent off of me. More than anything he taught me humility, and to never judge a man by his appearance. I never made that mistake again and I have carried his memory and that lesson around with me my entire life. I have passed that lesson to my children.

I have no idea how much his family knows about his career or if they have an insight into the mind of a fighter, but I can tell them without even speaking to Felipe that he was proud of his days in the ring. Every fighter is. You carry that pride all of your days. It never leaves you, whether you had a couple of fights or a hundred. Whatever work you do after that, you are still a fighter. With that in mind you should know that when Felipe fought Roberto Duran on March 28, 1970 in Mexico City, he did not just fight another fighter, he fought a legend. How many men have passed that can make that statement? Just a handful, trust me. When Duran was young, and knocking out everyone that was put in front of him, Felipe fought him and went the distance. He went the distance with a legend!

I hope that someone who reads this will be able to provide a photo for the family, or perhaps a personal story. I'll be happy to print it. When Mr. Torres and family provide more about details about Felipe, I'll pass them on to you. Below is the letter by Epifanio Z. Torres

Rest in Peace, Felipe

Dear Sir,

My name is Epifanio Z. Torres. I live in El Centro, Ca. I am Felipe Torres' brother. My mom is right next to me right now, and I was translating to her the part of the article that you wrote about my brother Felipe. It almost brought tears to my mom and I. You probably don't know, but Felipe died in 1993. As you were saying, he was a tough little fighter, but like many of them, he died in very difficult conditions. I'd really appreciate in other information, pictures articles that you might have about him. My mom is 83 yrs. old and she'd probably love to see some of that stuff you and your readers might have about him. I have found, in some other websites, a partial boxing record of his. From what I remember, he fought with the best featherweights of his time: He fought Roberto Duran in Mexico City: Kuniaki Shibata in Japan (he lost split decision there which is equal to a victory), he also fought with Shozo Saijo in Hawaii and lost split decision; Ricardo Arredondo, was another one of his rivals, and I am not quite sure, but I think he fought a boxer named Cesar Sinda who died after their fight. I believe I saw his name on the WBC classifications as being the #7 featherweight of the world in the 1970's. A cousin of mine sent me this link, which I am planning to bookmark. I hope you, or some of your readers might have some more info. about my brother, or other links related to him.

Thank you,

Epifanio Z. Torres

Below are the links to Felipe Torres Boxing Record and the article where I wrote briefly about Felipe and the Main Street Gym.


brian said...

Hey,Randy;as Sasha the bartender says to Humphrey Bogart...ah Richard Blaine in 'Casablanca':You did a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear about Felipe, though I didn't know Felipe as good as I did his brother Baltazar, I still fine it sad.

R.I.P. Felipe

Frank Baltazar

Randy De La O said...

Thanks guys. He was a very deserving guy.He died too young.

Anonymous said...

Hi Randy,

My name is Silvia Torres. I am Felipe Torres' youngest daughter. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the article you wrote about my father. Its good to know that he touched other peoples lives besides my older sister and my two older brothers. My older brothers actually have my dad's boxing robe and punching bag and I have pictures of my dad from his boxing days but my knowledge of his boxing career is very minimal. I would love to send you pictures of him that I have. Please contact me, my email address is Speaking for not just me but for my older sister, Rosa and my two older brothers Felipe Jr and Esteban we truly thank you for what you wrote. Our time with our father was unfortunately cut short but in the time he was with us he taught us strength, love and the true meaning of family. He really did touch everyone that met him. thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank all of you who have posted comments about the life of my brother Felipe Torres. Your words are kind, deep, and meaningful, and I have already shared them with my mother. However, I'd like to correct the record posted by "Anonymous," when he stated that Felipe had a brother named "Baltazar." The Torres Zamora family was composed of 8 boys and 4 girls. Felipe was the second child of the family, and none of the boys nor the girls was named "Baltazar." Thank you, Epifanio Z. Torres

Unknown said...

Hi Randy,

Thank you very much for the information about my father.Ive been wanting to respond to your messsage for quite sometime now but never found the time.The lessons he tought you were similar to wat he taught me as well.I sure wish he was still here to see his children and grand children.I do have a few pictures that I can share with you.As his oldest son i've seen how trials and tribulations can leave an inpact on someones life.However my father still remainded a fighter to the end.And if there's anything my father taught me it was to stand my ground and never give up.Thank you again for your wonderful comments.Best wishes to you and your family.

Felipe Torres Jr.

dave guild said...

When I was a young fighter in the 70s I thought I could dance with anyone. I was at the Y in Pasadena watching two fighters (Felipe and Glen Williams) spar. I did not know who I was watching, but I wanted to get in the ring with one of them. Felipe agreed, and I danced around and did my thing for about two minutes. The only word Felipe spoke was to Glen. "Fast." I puffed up for about ten more seconds. I didn't even see the right hand, but it was the best shot I had ever taken. Instant respect. For the next several months Felipe would work with me whenever I would show up. Never asked for a cent. I learned more about boxing, attitude, and respect from him than all the rest of my years combined, even though language made it hard for us to communicate. I am sad to hear that he has passed, but I am forever blessed to have known him. Dave

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