By Robert Coster
Former world bantamweight champion Jose Becerra has passed at the age of 80. The Mexican-born Becerra turned pro at age 17. He was an excellent boxer-puncher, getting his title chance on July 9, 1959, against Alphonse Halimi of France and winning the title via an eighth round knockout. Becerra successfully defended his title against Halimi (by KO) and Kenji Yonekura (by split decision). What shortened Becerra’s career was a knockout victory over Walter Ingram in a non-title bout (10-24-1959) which led to Ingram’s death a few days after the fight. Becerra was never quite the same after this tragedy and was kayoed by journeyman Eloy Sanchez (8-30-1960). Becerra retired after that fight at age 24.
In 1962, Becerra returned to the ring to fight a six round bout to raise money for the family of a boxer who had died in the ring. Becerra’s excellent final tally was 68-4-3 with 42 KOs. RIP Champ!