Willie Pastrano

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Class of 2001
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Willie Pastrano
Birth Name: Wilfred Raleigh Pastrano
Born: 1935-11-27
Died: 1997-12-06 (Age:62)
Nationality: US American
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 10″   /   178cm
Reach: 72″   /   183cm
Boxing Record: click

Trainers: Angelo Dundee & Whitey Esneault
Manager: Whitey Esneault


Biography

Wilfred Raleigh Pastrano was born in New Orleans. As a youth he was fat and pudgy. Pastrano's best friend, Ralph Dupas started training in boxing at a local gym. Pastrano, who weighed over 250 pounds, decided to start working out with his friend.

As Willie lost weight, he realized two things. First, he loved boxing. Second, he hated getting hit. So, Pastrano developed a style of boxing in which he hardly got hit, and in return, tried not to hurt his opponent as well.

Pastrano was already married as a teenager, and by 1962, he and his wife Faye, had five children; John (born 1955), Donna (1957), Frank (1959), Nicholas (1960), and Angelo (1962).

During the 1950s, Pastrano fought in both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight divisions. At one point he was the 5th rated heavyweight in the world.

Pastrano met a young Cassius Clay in the early 1960s. After winning the lightheavyweight title, Pastrano went into the insurance business with former world welterweight contender Bobby Dykes. He also became a spokesperson for a South Florida milk company.

After Pastrano lost the title, he decided to retire at age 30. He became a host at a Miami Beach steak house, and became good friends with singer Steve Alaimo. Alaimo helped Pastrano get into the film business, and the two men made a number of "B" movies together: Wild Rebels, and Alligator Alley.

In 1967, press reports had Pastrano making a comeback in Freeport, Grand Bahamas. However, the press reports were false, Pastrano in fact was working as a referee for the Gomeo Brennan / J.C. Ponder lightheavyweight match. Pastrano counted out Ponder at 1:09 of the 7th round.

Pastrano received some positive reviews for his part as "Banjo" in the "biker flick" The Wild Rebels. It was during this time that Pastrano developed a drug habit. Besides acting, he was a referee for some local fights, and even appeared in an exhibition now and then.

Pastrano started training for a comeback in 1970, but it never got off the ground. In 1988, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. His last years found him in ill health, and he died in his early 60s.

Inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame

Sources

  • Internet Movie Database.
  • Ring Magazine, September 1967, page 50: BRENNAN STOPS PONDER IN BAHAMAS KICKOFF, by Harley Oakes.

External Links

Acting credits: [1]


Preceded by:
World Lightweight Champion
Harold Johnson
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
1963 Jun 1 – 1965 Mar 30
Succeeded by:
Jose Torres
Preceded by:
Harold Johnson
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
1963 Jun 1 – 1965 Mar 30
Succeeded by:
Jose Torres


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