Family man Torres leaves Miami partying to Broncos
A younger, unattached Juan Torres may have remained in Miami and partied with the hysterical fans of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.
Even in defeat Saturday night, the South Lake Tahoe prize fighter showed the boxing world that he has the skills and maturity necessary to take a jab at the sport’s big time boxers.
Instead of reveling in his newfound glory, the 30-year-old hightailed it out of Miami only hours after losing a controversial decision to Hector “Macho” Camacho Jr. and returned to the responsibilities and priorities of a married man (wife Lydia) with a 12-year-old son, J.J.
“I had been away from home 10 days and was homesick. Being there Super Bowl weekend, it was hectic, the prices were outrageous and we couldn’t do anything,” said Torres, who changed his flight out of Miami to 5:30 a.m., only hours after his fight card ended at Miccousukee Indian Gaming.
But after what Torres did for America Presents’ card on Saturday night, maybe they should have set him up with a room next to Super Bowl MVP John Elway. Without Torres, fight fans may have carried off Camacho Junior to the nearby Everglades to see if the mobile one could escape a few hungry alligators.
Torres salvaged America Presents’ credibility and justified the jack fans paid to see the 10-round junior welterweight bout, which Camacho Junior won by a single point on the decisive third judge’s scoring card.
“I was expecting it,” said Torres, who cracked a wry smile as he bowed his head when the disputed decision was announced. “I let him do his little victory dance, but people weren’t buying it. Then I raised my hands, and I got a standing ovation, so I was happy with it.”
“His whole family came up to me and they felt the decision was wrong, and they want to do a rematch for some kind of title.”
Having endured many of the needles boxing has pricked him with during the past five years, Torres wasn’t surprised or enraged by the outcome. In fact, he accepted the “son of a famous father must remain unbeaten until he advances to a title bout” script and put a positive spin on his rekindled boxing career.
“This fight opened more doors for me rather than closing them. The fight was televised not only nationwide but in South and Central America. That will definitely open some doors for me,” Torres said. “Promoters are already talking about rebooking me. They feel badly that I had to retire for two years (because of a contract dispute). I could have been up there or could have given a lot better shows than the ones they had before. There are a lot of signed fight contracts for Telemundo TV, and hopefully I will be a big part of that.”
Torres became the fight’s aggressor after a first-round knockdown – the second of his career. He showed the heart of a champion in trying to blemish the record of the 20-year-old son of four-time world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, who was escorted from his ringside seat afterward when he challenged some of the diatribes hurled by fans critical of his son’s ability.
“The fans didn’t have a favorite fighter. They just wanted to see a good fight and I was giving them the fight they came to see,” Torres said.
Other than refraining from preconceived judgments, Torres doesn’t see any way to change boxing’s current three-judge scoring system.
“I’ve been a judge 100 times in karate tournaments, and I don’t care who you are or who you’re going against or who you’re daddy is, we make sure each fight is scored fairly,” said the six-time world kickboxing champion. “It’s not a sport you have a good time with in the ring. The least they can do for you is to be fair. But my mother always told me to stay in school and study hard, and I didn’t listen.”
Torres resurrected his fledgling boxing career at the Marron Boxing Camp in Lakeside, Calif. But home to him still is South Lake Tahoe. It’s a shame that Stateline casinos haven’t included him on their boxing cards since July 15, 1995, when he lost a close decision to Dezi Ford at Caesars Tahoe.
He is one of the great sports role models this tiny community will ever have. For someone to make it as far as he has in boxing by training out of his garage is extraordinary.
Give Torres his due and simply be proud of him.
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