Name: Willie Pastrano
Birth Name: Wilfred Raleigh Pastrano
Died: 1997-12-06 (Age:62)
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Height: 5′ 10″ / 178cm
Reach: 72″ / 183cm
Boxing Record: click
Trainers: Angelo Dundee & Whitey Esneault
Manager: Whitey Esneault
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 lightheavyweight 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.
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 passed away in his early 60s.
- Internet Movie Database.
- Ring Magazine, September 1967, page 50: BRENNAN STOPS PONDER IN BAHAMAS KICKOFF, by Harley Oakes.
Acting credits: 
| World Light Heavyweight Champion
1 Jun 1963–30 Mar 1965