I have a regular column, “The Ugly American,” featured in Esquina, a new boxing magazine based out of Mexico City. The column runs in Spanish in the print version of Esquina and in English on their website. The latest edition of “The Ugly American” focuses on the career of former bantamweight champion Jesus “Chucho” Castillo–who died on January 15–and how professional prizefighting has changed since he first entered the ring in 1962. Here is an excerpt:
Then, on October 16, 1970, Castillo became the first man to hang a loss on Ruben Olivares. “Rockabye” Ruben, who entered the fight with a gaudy 61-0-1 record and the love of every Chicano and Mexican national above ground, had already beaten Castillo a few months earlier, but they fought again, because that was where the money was, and where the money was was where you needed to be. In a way, it was a professional courtesy for both men to swap punches on three separate occasions in less than a year, since they were fighting during a time when purses were not given out based on imaginary pound-for-pound lists. Because Castillo dreamed of driving in a NASCAR event, he fought the best fighters of his era, and was paid commensurately for the risks he took.