If Panama can boast about something in boxing is that they have more than only one leading figure in their history. The pugilism of that Central American country is full of legends. When we review the names of those who have made the country proud, Eusebio Pedroza is one of the most distinguished and beloved ones. The “Alacrán” (scorpion) is an idol in Panama, and people mourn him due to his personality, but also for everything he gave to the sport.
Being 5’9” (1.73m) in height, he was a very tall man for the featherweight division, and he combined his body with a frightening technical ability. His career lasted 19 years from 1973 to 1992, ending with 48 professional bouts, some of them in the bantamweight division, but the most important and glorious bouts were in the 126-pound category of the featherweight division.
The most important and prominent number in the career of the native of Panama City is 19, which was the number of times in which he defended the World Boxing Association (WBA) Title.
When he won the Title in 1978, he was 22 years old and he needed 13 rounds to knock out the Spanish boxer Cecilio Lastra. That was his second fight in a World Championship, since he had missed an opportunity in the 118 pounds category before gaining the weight in which he would later achieve his greatest feats. The streak of 19 successful defenses surprisingly lasted 7 years, during this period he had 22 bouts, the Title was not being competed in two of them and one bout ended as “no contest.”
When he lost the title in 1985, he arrived in London for a fight everybody would remember. Barry McGuigan was the boxer who could beat the beast and did so supported by 27,000 fans that assisted, mostly Irish compatriots, having the extra responsibility to serve as a unifying factor in a political and social struggle that his nation was suffering at that time. The fight was tough and finished after 15 rounds. Still as of today, McGuigan is aware that he won with his heart and even Pedroza remembered it as one of the most important of his record, regardless it was a defeat for him.
The fight marked the retirement of the big billboards for Pedroza, although he had five additional fights, he never opted for the title again. On that road towards the end of his career, he won three times and lost twice. Pedroza was knocked out only three times in his career, but he struck down 25 opponents demonstrating his power and endurance. Currently, the World Boxing has to say goodbye to a legend and member of the Hall of Fame. Thanks for everything, Champ!