50 years of the first Panamanian referee’s participation in world title fight

by
50 years of the first Panamanian referee’s participation in world title fight
50 years of the first Panamanian referee's participation in world title fight

50 years of the first Panamanian referee’s participation in world title fight

by
50 years of the first Panamanian referee’s participation in world title fight
50 years of the first Panamanian referee's participation in world title fight

When we speak about Panamanians in boxing, we think not only of the great number of talented fighters, 30 of whom have become world champions.

The contribution of the Panamanian isthmus to this sporting discipline also includes outstanding leaders, such as Dr. Elías Córdova, the first non-American president of the World Boxing Association (WBA), the pioneer of boxing, and outstanding ring officials, such as doctors, judges, supervisors and especially referees.

The term “third man in the ring” refers to the referee’s work as the main protagonist of the spectacle, after the two boxers.

Therefore, we remember the great Panamanian boxing referees who have achieved worldwide recognition. Some of the best I have watched, are Carlos Berrocal, Gustavo Padilla, Guillermo Pérez Pineda and more recently Héctor Afú and Abdiel Barragán.

But the golden age in which Panamanian boxing took off to the highest levels, in the 1960s and 70s, was the time of the most outstanding performances of “the premier” Isaac Herrera (1922-2008), who also has the merit of having been the first referee from Panama to participate in a world championship bout.

It should not surprise anyone that this opportunity was given to him by the World Boxing Association in one of the most awaited fights of that time, between the Colombian idol, Antonio “Kid Pambelé” Cervantes and the renowned Argentine warrior Carlos María Jiménez, for the Jr. welterweight title, today called super lightweight, held by “Pambelé”.

Between Cervantes and Jimenez, aged only 27 and 24 respectively, they totaled 127 professional fights, so the WBA required a referee with character and skills that would allow him to maintain control for 15 rounds and to impart justice, since at that time they also had to score on one of the official ballots. The entity’s directors trusted the recommendation of Dr. Córdova, who at that time was vice president, and were more than satisfied with the performance of the Canalero.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of that fight, which took place on September 8, 1973 at the El Campín Coliseum in Bogotá, Colombia, and which the legendary “Pambelé” won by technical knockout in the fifth round, retaining the belt, the first ever won by a Colombian in the history of boxing.

The World Boxing Association is proud to commemorate this event, one of many achieved by Panama, a country that has just celebrated 102 years of professional boxing activity.

I consider it appropriate to accompany this writing with a brief illustrated interview that I published in 1999, in the television program “Explosión del Box”, which I produced, edited and conducted for the company Producciones RJP and which was broadcasted through TVN channel 2 of Panama, and which is probably the last audiovisual memory of Isaac Herrera.

The author is a journalist, publicist, university professor, narrator, commentator, producer and sports presenter in radio and television, with 39 years of experience in the Panamanian and international media. He has been promoter, proxy and main member of the Panamanian Boxing Commission from 1995 to 2008.


Kenshiro held a public workout just days before facing Budler 



Vietnam will make history with WBA Asia Convention

Vietnam will make history with WBA Asia Convention

WBA Asia confirmed the celebration of its first regional convention,...

Raymond Ford to confirm his crown

Raymond Ford to confirm his crown

The cards are stacked and Raymond Ford will be hoping...

Niyomtrong-Dusmatov Purse bid on hold 

Niyomtrong-Dusmatov Purse bid on hold 

The bidding for the World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight world...