It was October 28, 1972, an unforgettable and historical day for the Colombian boxing; the “Nuevo Panama” gym was crowded and Canal people were thrilled and full of joy due to the great moment the Panamian boxing was living thanks to their four WBA World Champions. Their first world light welterweight champion, Alfonso “Peppermint” Frazer, had dethroned the Argentinean Nicolino Locche, an immortal of boxing, on March 10 that same year, becoming only the 3rd Panamian Champion of history and the first out of four in 1972. He defended his world title for the first time against the dangerous Colombian puncher, Antonio Cervantes, “Kid Pambele.”
Colombia, on the other hand, was trying to win a world boxing title for the fourth time. The first boxer who tried to win it was Bernardo Caraballo from Cartagena, who failed in two opportunities. First, he lost to “The Golden Bantam” of Brazil, Eder Jofre, a terrifying puncher who knocked him out in 7 rounds at Santamaria de Bogota Bullring Arena, on November 11, 1964. Later, on July 4th, 1967, he lost by unanimous decision to the Japanese Masahiko “Fighting” Harada, another immortal of the bantamweight division at the Nippon Budokan, in Tokio. The third failed attempt was made by Antonio Cervantes himself at Luna Park, Buenos Aires, on December 11, 1971, where he was clearly beaten by “The Untouchable” Nicolino Locche, who shined in front of his country people.
But October 28, 1972 came and on the ring of the “Nuevo Panama” gym –today “Roberto Duran”-, “Peppermint” wore his world title for the first time. He began the bout very fast and enthusiastic to defend his title and started to move with grace and talent around the slim Cervantes, who was hunting him from his position. Frazer’s technique and speed prevailed in those first rounds in front of the delighted Panamian fans. They seemed to have everything under control. At Frazer’s corner, there were shouts in numerical codes: “5-3-2”, “4-2-8” and “Peppermint” executed the strategy, impressing the judges who were the Panamian Harmodio Cedeño, Juan Carlos Tapia (the famous Commentator) and the referee was Isaac Herrera, who could also vote by that time.
Until the ninth round, Frazer was winning on the scorecards. At Pambele’s corner, his Venezuelan agent Ramiro Machado and his coach, also from Venezuela, Melquiades “Tabaquito” Saenz, told him he needed to win by KO since the champion had the advantage. Thus, Pambele knocked Frazer down the canvas punching him with his left fist. There was terror in the “Nuevo Panama” gym. Frazer got up with difficulty, but he attacked hoping to be able to intimidate the Colombian contender. However, Pambele used again his powerful fists and send him back down to the canvas. It was now a matter of time. Other hard-hitting Cervantes left “Peppermint” spread-eagled on the canvas and Colombia, for the first time, obtained a World Boxing Title. This October 28 marks the 45th Anniversary of that unforgettable great feat achieved by Antonio Cervantes, “Kid Pambele.”