Carlos Palomino Interview

By Jonathan Arouh on September 8, 2017
Carlos Palomino Interview
“The talent pool is diminished. There aren't as many fighters now as in my day.” (ESNews)

“Pro fights were held every week at the Olympic auditorium. There was so much talent that you could have a weekly boxing show…”

When you’re good at something never do it for free, I was told a clown once said, as is the case with hall of fame boxer Carlos Palomino. I recently interviewed the former world champion at Ten Goose Boxing Gym in Van Nuys, California. Carlos was born on August 10, 1949 in Luis V. Sanchez, Mexico. He fought his entire professional career as a welterweight, holding the WBC welterweight belt from 1976-1979, and posted seven successful title defenses. Perhaps this is not well known, but Carlos originally dreamed of playing baseball. Baseball is a fine sport to participate in of course, however some people are just naturally gifted in a certain discipline, and boxing is Carlos’ natural gift. In addition to Carlos’ principle gift, his talents translated into the acting world where he appeared in several TV shows and movies. Carlos was elected chairman of the California State Athletic Commission. Beside boxing, acting, and having served as chairman of the CSAC, Carlos is involved with Tony Baltazar’s charity where he travels the U.S. attending events, and signing autographs. He currently maintains a steady workout discipline at the principled age of 68 and is still willing to talk to up-and-coming journalists.

How long have you been involved in boxing?

I started boxing when I was almost 21. I got drafted in the army and boxed in the army, which was where my amateur career began, so 1970-present.

What drew you to boxing?

My father, he loved the sport. He never boxed himself, but we had gloves at the house and when my brother and I had a problem, he’d bring out the gloves. Our family moved to the U.S. from Luis V. Sanchez, Mexico in 1960. He would sit us down and watch fights with us on TV and break down what was happening.

What has been boxing’s biggest impact on you?

I fulfilled a dream. When I started in the army, it was something to do, and then I made the Army boxing team. Then defending the world championship seven times, it changed my life.

What was your experience the U.S. Army Boxing?

My first tournament was the Fort Hood Tournament, which I won. Then it was the 4th U.S. Army Championships for four bases (Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Fort Carson), and I won that tournament. Then I was sent to the All U.S. Army Championships in 1971 and again in 1972, where I won both years. Next came the All Service Championships, which includes the army, air force, navy, and marines, which I won. In 1972 I won the AAU U.S. National Championships. In 1971, I won the Pan-Am trials that were held in North Carolina, but since I only had a green card and was not an American citizen, I was not allowed to compete in the Pan-Am games themselves that were held in Cali, Colombia.

When did you find out you could not compete in the Pan-Am games?

They told me after I won the trials.

Whom did they send instead?

They sent the guy that I beat in the final instead of me.

Who was your most challenging opponent and why?

A couple really, really, challenging fights. The first one was with Zovek Barajas in the Grand Olympic Auditorium. I came into the fight with 14 fights, and Barajas with 40. We fought a knockdown, drag out fight for 10 rounds, which resulted in a draw. We had a rematch six weeks later where I stopped him in the ninth round by KO. That was the fight that put me on the map. Then Roberto Duran was a tough fight. Wilfred Benitez, I lost the title in my eighth title defense which was held in Benitez’s home territory of Puerto Rico. It was a split decision, and I wasn’t given a rematch.

Which match did you find to be the most fun?

Winning the World Title in London, England. I was a 10-1 underdog vs. John Stracey. There were 40,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. It was a tough fight, but it was a lot of fun.

Do you notice a difference in the boxing of today’s fighters vs. the fighters of your era?

Yeah, the talent pool is diminished now. There aren’t as many fighters now as in my day. In my day, pro fights were held every week at the Olympic auditorium. There was so much talent that you could have a weekly boxing show.

What did you find to be your greatest attribute of your boxing skillset?

I could do both, box inside or box outside. My body work, I stopped guys with my left hook to the body aka liver shot. I stopped Stracey with a hook to the body. A hook to the head and a hook to the body was devastating.

What boxing exercise do you believe to be the most valuable?


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Carlos Palomino vs John H. Stracey 22-06-1976

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  1. David 01:54pm, 09/11/2017

    One of the really great pros in boxing. I remember the fight with him and Roberto Duran. They went toe to toe but Duran was just too tricky.

  2. Lucas McCain 10:14am, 09/10/2017

    A solid, clean, exciting pro.  And no one ever delivered the line “Don’t drink the water” more convincingly!

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