Former world champion and Hall of Fame Panamanian boxer Eusebio Pedroza, who defended the featherweight title more times than any other in history, has died at age 62.
Pedroza, who stood 5-foot-9, turned pro in Panama and boxed solely in his home country until 1976. At that time, he got a chance at then-bantamweight world champion Alfonso Zamora in Mexico and, in his 16th fight, lost by knockout in the second round.
After losing the following bout by knockout to Oscar Arnal in Venezuela later in 1976, Pedroza began a win streak that included him winning the world title by knocking out Cecilio Lastra in the 13th round on April 15, 1978, in Panama City.
During this period of dominance, he would successfully defended his title 19 times between 1978 and 1985. Pedroza, who was heralded for his amazing stamina and ability for establishing control over fights in the later rounds, had a title reign with many of his fights becoming a staple on United States television during the period of weekend afternoon fights.
During that time as champion, The list of those he had defeated were Hall of Famer Ruben Olivares by 12th-round knockout, Royal Kobayashi by 13th-round knockout and won 15-round decisions over Jorge Lujan, twice against Rocky Lockridge and Juan Laporte.
Pedroza, known as “The Scorpion,” eventually lost the title to Barry McGuigan in a prize fight for which Pedroza received $1 million — a record purse at the time for a featherweight. He would fight five more times to end his career, going 3-2 and losing a 10-round split decision to Mauro Gutierrez in Detroit in his final bout on Nov. 21, 1992.
On Friday, McGuigan said via his Twitter account it was a sad day. He says “it was a pleasure to share the ring with him.”
A sad day for me as my rival and outstanding World Featherweight Champion Eusebio Pedroza passes away aged 62 RIP. Pedroza is one of the longest reigning Featherweight Champion in history, it was a pleasure to share the ring with him ? https://t.co/qVYXpy4p7e
— Barry McGuigan (@ClonesCyclone) March 1, 2019