Palomino Enters Boxing Hall Of Fame

By Off the BASN Sports Wire (by WILLIAM KATES)
Updated: August 29, 2005

CANASTOTA, N.Y. –Carlos Palomino could field and hit a fastball. He dreamed of playing infield for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Boxing? He hated it growing up, especially since his father frequently made him spar in the back yard with one of his four brothers.

“I made it to Double-A ball in Mexico. I had quick hands and feet … and I could hit a 90 mph fastball. I just couldn’t hit any of the junk,” Palomino said. “When I took up boxing, I realized I was a lot better at that.”

The International Boxing Hall of Fame agreed. On Thursday, the hall enshrined the former world welterweight champion along with 14 other former champions, boxing officials and ring personalities.

The 2004 induction class also included featherweight Azumah Nelson of Ghana, light heavyweight Dwight Muhammad Qawi of the United States and bantamweight Daniel Zaragoza of Mexico.

Referee Stanley Christodoulou of South Africa led the list of nonboxers who will be inducted with the boxers June 13.

Palomino won the WBC welterweight crown in 1976 and successfully defended it seven times before losing the crown in 1979 to Hall of Famer Wilfred Benitez. He had a career record of 31-4-3 with 19 knockouts.

Palomino began boxing competitively in the Army. In 1972, he won the national AAU championship, defeating eventual Olympic champ Sugar Ray Seales.

Palomino turned pro that year and won the welterweight title on June 22, 1976, by defeating John Stracey of England. He was dethroned by Benitez in 1979, in a 15-round decision. Six months later, Palomino lost to Roberto Duran and retired at 30.

His father died in 1995, spurring a brief comeback in 1997-98.

He won four of five bouts before retiring for good.

“My dad always went to the gym with me,” he said. “He was always at my fights. It was a way for my heart to heal.”

Palomino has a degree in recreational administration from Long Beach State. He now coaches young fighters in the Los Angeles area.

Palomino also took up acting. He has appeared on “Taxi” and other TV sitcoms as well as in supporting roles in about 20 films.

He will soon star in Las Vegas a hip-hop musical.

Palomino will be inducted in the modern-era category, along with Nelson, Qawi and Zaragoza.

Nelson and Qawi enter the hall in their first year of eligibility. Inductees are selected by the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of boxing historians.

Nelson was a world featherweight and super featherweight champ from 1984-94. He had a 39-5-2 record, with 28 KOs.

Qawi, known as Dwight Braxton until his conversion to Islam in 1982, won world lightweight and cruiserweight titles in the mid-1980s. His record was 41-11-1 with 25 KOs.

Zaragoza won the Mexican bantamweight title in 1982 and successfully defended it 10 times. He held world bantamweight or super bantamweight championships five times between 1985-97. He finished with a record of 55-8-3, with 28 KOs.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)