Argentine boxing legend Horacio Accavallo, the second world champion in the country's history, died Wednesday in Buenos Aires, it was announced. He was 87.
The world's flyweight champion between 1966 and 1968 had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for over a decade, his son Horacio Jr. told reporters.
This is how I will remember you old man! With my arms up like a Champion. Thank you for your teachings and for instilling your values in me. Rest in peace, he wrote next to a photo of his father on his Instagram account.
Accavallo became Argentina's second-ever world boxing champion on March 1, 1966, when he defeated Japan's Katsuyoshi Takayama in Tokyo in a 15-round bout. Argentina's first world champion had been the late Pascual Pérez, who reigned among flyweights between 1954 and 1960.
Accavallo defended his scepter on three occasions: twice against Japan's Hiroyuki Ebihara and once against Mexico's Efren Torres in between fights. He retired as the world title holder in 1968 after a career of 83 fights with 75 fights (34 by knock-out) two defeats and six ties.
He had started amateur boxing at the age of 14 after a childhood of poverty in a Buenos Aires shantytown where he survived by collecting cardboard. The son of illiterate Italian and Spanish immigrants, he had also worked as a trapeze artist in a circus and as a shoeshine boy.
The charismatic Accavallo also appeared in two motion pictures.
Acavallo had been born in Villa Diamante in the Lanús district just outside the country's capital on October 14, 1934. His worst defeat in life was when his daughter Silvana (one of his 4 children) died at the age of 47 on June 9, 1998, when she was run over by a pick-up truck.
Accavallo stemmed from a very humble and illiterate family but he was notorious for opening a sports gear store with his first big earnings as a world champion, after which he made a living as a middle-class business owner.
Unlike many boxing stars, he got married, had a family, and was never involved in any drug-related or alcohol-drinking scandal.
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