On this day in 1973, Eder Jofre defeated Jose Legra to capture the featherweight championship. The win came nearly eight full years after Jofre had dropped the bantamweight title to Fighting Harada by split decision and seven years after Jofre had lost to Harada in a rematch.
Jofre represented Brazil in the 1956 Olympics and went on to become the greatest boxer in history from his native country. Jofre captured the bantamweight title in 1960 and was the inaugural world champion at 118 pounds for both the WBC and the WBA.
Jofre was a very smooth technical fighter with outstanding power for a 118-pound fighter, knocking out 50 of his opponents for a KO percentage of just under 65 percent. He did not lose a fight until dropping a split decision to Fighting Harada in Tokyo in May, 1965. He lost again in a rematch to Harada a year later.
After losing to Harada the second time, Jofre retired for over three years. He returned to action in late 1969 and battled his way back into contention for over three years, before edging Jose Legra to win the title. Legra was an outstanding champion from Cuba who had moved to Spain following the Cuban Revolution.
The two losses to Harada were the only two of Jofre’s career, which totaled 78 fights. He is considered the greatest bantamweight of all time by many historians and is undeniably in the top three.
Also on this date, in 2007, Oscar De La Hoya lost to Floyd Mayweather by split decision. At the time the fight set pay-per-view records, though it would be surpassed by Mayweather’s 2013 bout with Canelo Alvarez and left in the dust by Mayweather’s bout with Manny Pacquiao last weekend.
But at the time, it was billed as “the fight to save boxing.” De La Hoya had been the face of the sport for a generation and Mayweather was the clear-cut choice to try to take his torch.
I have always found the split-decision verdict laughable. De La Hoya did better than most have against Mayweather, but I was in agreement with judge Chuck Giampa that Mayweather won eight rounds out of 12.