Friday, April 11, 2014

Panama Al Brown...The First Latin American World Champion

By Peter Silkov

Al Brown was the first Latin American to win a world championship, and despite the years that have passed since his prime, and the many great Latin American champions who have come after him, he remains one of the greatest of them all. Brown stood an elongated 5 feet 11 inches, an almost freakish height for a bantamweight (and he actually began his career as a flyweight) and he used his height perfectly with his immaculate boxing technique. He also had a stinging knockdown punch, and despite his height, did not suffer from the kind of vulnerability that other fighters of similar elongated builds suffered in their careers. Brown was never stopped once throughout his boxing life. Brown turned professional in 1922 and became something of an overnight sensation and a quick favourite with the fans. Despite this, he had to wait until 1929 before he got a world title shot, and out pointing Gregorio Vidal over 15 rounds, he began a reign as World Bantamweight champion, which would last for six years and see him defend his championship all round the world. The champion was especially popular in France and settled in Paris where he enjoyed the life of partying and the culture. Brown’s world title reign still stands today as one of the most impressive ever in the division’s history. Brown eventually lost recognition as champion in 1935 when he was out pointed by Baltazar Sangchili. Brown retired briefly in 1936, but returned in 1938, regained partial recognition as World Bantamweight champion again, when he out pointed Baltazar Sangchili in 1938, but after making one defence, he vacated the title, no longer able to make the 118 pound bantamweight limit. Time and a party lifestyle was now taking its toll on Brown and he finally retired in 1942 after failing to win the national Panamanian Featherweight title at the age of 40. Brown retired with a final record of 130(60koes)-19-13. Sadly, like so many other greats of the ring, Panama Al Brown’s final days where spent in poverty and he struggled with a cocaine habit that he had picked up in Paris. He died in New York in 1950 of tuberculosis.

Copyright © 2014 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to and

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