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Armando Ramos (November 15, 1948 – July 6, 2008) was a Mexican-American professional boxer[1] and the former two-time WBC and WBA Lightweight Champion.[2] He was born in Long Beach, California.[3] Armando "Mando" Ramos was one of the most popular and exciting fighters in Southern California during the 1960s.[4] Ramos was an outstanding amateur standout.[5] Most boxing fans remember that he could out-box most fighters without getting touched, but because his punches packed knockout power he would preferred to duke it.[6][7]

Mando Ramos
Real nameArmando Ramos
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Reach71.5 in (181.6 cm)
Born(1948-11-15)November 15, 1948
Long Beach, California, USA
DiedJuly 6, 2008(2008-07-06) (aged 59)
San Pedro, California, USA
Boxing record
Total fights49
Wins by KO23
No contests0

Professional careerEdit

Mando Ramos turned pro at age 17 using a forged birth certificate. Mando went on to fight the main event at the storied Olympic Auditorium by his 8th pro fight.[8] At the age of 18 Mando defeated the reigning Jr. Lightweight Champ, Japan's Yoshiro Kobayashi in a non-title bout. When offered a re-match for the title, the cocky Ramos refused to fight for a 'Junior' title.[9]

World Lightweight ChampionEdit

He demanded to fight dangerous Lightweight Champ Carlos Ortiz—Ortiz had dominated the division for over a decade.[10] Negotiations were in place, but Ortiz was upset by 'Teo' Cruz and so Ramos took the fight to the new champ, narrowly losing in a decision. Ramos won the re-match via KO to become the youngest Lightweight Champion in history.[11] Cruz would only live 11 more months. He died in a plane crash on January 1970 alongside the Puerto Rican national women's volleyball team at the Dominicana DC-9 air disaster.

Mando was the first fighter to draw hordes of women to the fights. When a Mando Ramos fight was held in Los Angeles, movie stars such as John Wayne, Bill Cosby, Kirk Douglas, Liz Taylor and Connie Stevens attended[citation needed]. Women from all walks of life caught Mandomania, and Hollywood loved 'The Wonder Boy'.[12][13]

Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McCoy,[14] Ramos fought ten World title fights, was a two-time champion and earned millions of dollars. Whilst Mickey Mantle and Joe Namath earned 100k per season, Ramos was earning 100k per night. He was the world's highest paid teenager[citation needed] and his purses were larger than anyone but Muhammad Ali's[citation needed]. McCoy stated Mando was the most naturally talented fighter he had ever seen in his life.[15]


Tough fights however, had taken their toll, along with the high life. Eventually drugs and alcohol put the brakes on his career. By age 24 Ramos was out of boxing.[16] With the aid of his wife, Sylvia Van Hecke, Ramos overcame his demons and was clean and sober over his last three decades.[17] He founded a non-profit youth organization---B.A.A.D.--boxing against alcohol and drugs—and donated tens of thousands of his own personal hours—to coaching, mentoring and training inner-city at-risk youths.[18][19]

Mando Ramos died suddenly at his home in San Pedro, California on July 6, 2008.[20][21]

Preceded by
Carlos Teo Cruz
World Lightweight Champion
18 February 1969 – 3 March 1970
Succeeded by
Ismael Laguna
Preceded by
Pedro Carrasco
WBC Lightweight Champion
18 February 1972 – 15 September 1972
Succeeded by
Chango Carmona


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  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-10-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2010-10-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-10-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-10-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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External linksEdit