Wednesday, September 2, 2009

True Warrior: Oscar Larios Retires

In his whole career, Manny Pacquiao battled two Oscars and scored a victory over each. One is considered a living legend of the sport while the other was an underrated warrior. It was the latter who gave Pacquiao a tough fight that went the distance.

Personally, I never heard of Oscar Larios until he took on then super featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao in July 2006. Nicknamed Chololo, Larios has a very unique appeal that even Filipino fans come to appreciate. The two-time division champion is a class act and a friendly chump when not wearing his gloves.

My admiration for Larios grew as his fight with Pacquiao blazed on. With two fighters getting it on and pouring out everything they got since the opening bell, I was getting my money’s worth.

It was all action right from the start and even if I was rooting for Pacquiao, I would not mind a Larios victory. Of course, Pacquiao scored two knockdowns and was visibly superb in the technical aspects of the sport.

The kind of punishment Larios took from Pacquiao was so brutal that any ordinary fighter would have wilted. Not Larios. He stood there, squaring Pacquiao and was taking some to give some. That kind of a boxer is a rarity. A legend of the same name quit on his stool, but not Larios. This guy is no quitter.

He won’t be in the Hall of Fame. But for hardcore boxing fans like myself, we will always know that once there was an Oscar who slug it out with Pacquiao and did more than survive the rounds – he earned the respect and admiration of millions.

After the Pacquiao fight, Larios moved on and sought battles. But it was a medical battle that finally made a dent on his career. In July 2007, Larios was diagnosed with minor subdural hematoma, a bleeding in the brain, after he fought against Jorge Linares.

Suspended in the US due to his medical condition, Larios pick his fights outside United States. His last fight ended in a loss – a rematch with Takahiro Aoh. Their first encounter ended with Larios as the victor.

Oscar “Chololo” Larios retired with a record of 63 wins, 7 losses, 1 draw, and 39 wins by way of knockout. He reigned as WBC champion of the super bantamweight and the featherweight divisions.

Enjoy your retirement, Oscar.