Wonderland: The Genius of Nicolino Locche

By Mike Casey on September 7, 2011
Wonderland: The Genius of Nicolino Locche
It was quite common for Locche to take a few drags on a cigarette between rounds.

While Muhammad Ali was flamboyant and flashy, Locche was deft and dexterous, infinitely cleverer and more knowledgeable…

Some time back, when the secretive lair was finally penetrated and the crown jewels sparkled in the sudden sunlight, I realised with a sense of wonder that every great thing ever said about Nicolino Locche was true. There he was on the screen, moving casually and almost contemptuously around the ring, an imperious master of his trade, taunting his hapless opponent with gifts of body and mind that only come from the gods.

The hapless opponent was Antonio Cervantes, who was only one of the greatest junior welterweights that ever lived. What does that tell us about Locche? It tells us volumes. He pitched a 15-0 shutout on the cards of all three judges in that unforgettable exhibition of pure boxing. Yes, the fight was in his native Argentina. No, it wasn’t hometown favoritism gone mad.

What was it about Argentina and other exotic lands when I was growing up in the sixties? They seemed to be cloaked in as much secrecy as the Soviet Union and China. Nothing seemed to get smuggled out. A glimpse of Locche or Eder Jofre on film was a rare treat. The truth, I suspect, was plain old-fashioned laziness on the part of the staid and parochial American boxing media of that time. Who ever profiled Nicolino Locche in any great depth? How many writers from the established titles of the day knew he was even there?

A genuine fistic genius was our midst, plying his trade with all the finesse of a master painter, but the poor fellow came from Argentina and how exactly did you pronounce that surname? The good gentlemen of the once wonderful The Ring magazine such as editor Nat Fleischer and his great pal Dan Daniel had grown very old and insular and still expected the rest of the world to come to New York. For the most part, boxing in South America and the Far East was compressed into small print to fill the back of the magazine.

While Fleischer and his weary, near-octogenarian troops were bemoaning the dramatic drop in live boxing audiences, the likes of Locche, Pascual Perez, Eder Jofre, and Flash Elorde were filling giant soccer stadiums in those odd countries where they spoke in strange tongues. The wonderful Carlos Ortiz frequently defended his lightweight championship in the other man’s backyard, playing to audiences of 50,000 and more. His second fight with Duilio Loi at Milan’s legendary San Siro Stadium drew more than 65,000 people.

Massive crowds would stomp and cheer and sing in joyous praise of their gladiatorial heroes. The Argentinian fans would often sweep Locche home on a wave of celebratory song, safe in the knowledge that the ever shifting, liquid-like armor of their idol could not be pierced. Now, alas, we can fit the biggest fights of the day into a casino.

Locche was a physical contradiction and I think that is why so many boxing fans are stunned when they see him in action for the first time. In and out of the ring, Nicolino was no obvious athlete. Like his compatriot and fellow legend, Carlos Monzon, Locche was a heavy smoker all his life, yet his ability to store and conserve his energy in combat was frequently lauded as exceptional. Monzon was a similar freak of nature, known as “Iron Lungs” to those around him. Manager Amilcar Brusa once said that he never saw Monzon gulping for air in a fight. It was quite common for Locche to take a few drags on a cigarette between rounds while his seconds did their best to conceal the act.

Balding, barrel-chested and thick shouldered, Nicolino resembled a slugger or the kind of beefy trialhorse who rarely wins but can give or take all night long. Tough and brawny boxers of remarkable durability have long been produced by the score in Argentina. There are countless, barely known journeymen with patchy records who can box sublimely, slug with the best of them and go the distance every time. The vast majority of these men, save for the odd bad apples found in every barrel, are wonderfully schooled and hard as nails. In appearance alone, Nicolino Locche seemed to fit perfectly into their mould.

Once in motion, however, he blew all stereotype images from the mind. His was a lazy, languid, impudent style that was all his own. He was genuinely unique among the great magicians of the ring and I haven’t seen his like since. He was a grand master of all the essential technical skills and invented his own little eclectic collection into the bargain. He was El Intocable, The Untouchable. What he didn’t possess was a knockout wallop, and how convenient that was for certain lazy writers whose “research” on Locche was to simply glance at his long record and highlight the 14 knockout wins from the staggering total of 117 triumphs, 14 draws and just four losses in 135 battles.

I’m sure Nicolino didn’t lose too much sleep over the lack of powder in his cannon. Who cares about a knockout punch when you can clean a skillful and destructive hitter like Antonio Cervantes by a score of 15 to zero?

Locche could blind an opponent with science in every way imaginable. His box of tricks was bottomless. He would bend forward from the waist, sometimes locking his gloves behind his back, stick his chin up in the air and cheekily invite uppercuts and slashing punches of despair that never struck him. The meaty, protruding head would gently tilt one way and then the other as the incoming missiles passed by and worked up a cool breeze.

Locche was rarely a “runner” in the ring. The thought of running, or for that matter any exercise of great exertion, would likely have horrified him. Such was his confidence in his breathtaking ability, he would often position himself squarely in the line of fire and trust his physical and mental instincts. Like a cuddlybear on castors, he would slide forward, jig sideways or move back with a casual yet oddly comical grace. Sometimes he would look like an old man with a bad back as he stepped and shuffled in and out of his appointed circle, before suddenly shooting out a jab or winging a hook to the body with lightning athleticism. He could box at range or box in close, fight off the ropes or rush an opponent without looking at all awkward.

How sickening his talent must have been to a generation of quality men who were made to look uncharacteristically clumsy as they slashed and swiped at the air around him. For a seasoned ring mechanic who has learned his trade and done it all, there is no worse feeling than that of inadequacy. Locche teased and taunted and smiled, and even conducted running conversations with people at ringside.

When Muhammad Ali subsequently did likewise, he was hailed as a roguish one-of-a-kind. But while Ali was flamboyant and flashy, Locche was deft and dexterous, infinitely cleverer and more knowledgeable. While Ali was intense and passionate, Locche was calm and casual and saw no point in inflating the compact economy of his blindingly apparent genius. Boxing to him, it seemed, was as pleasant a way as any to pass the time between cigarette breaks and other less rigorous pleasures.

Record

In examining Nicolino Locche’s sprawling record, it is important to understand the nature of Argentinean boxing. You will see a lot of draws on the early records of many great fighters. They are well protected when they are learning and developing, and close fights between young prospects are invariably deemed stalemates. I don’t doubt for a moment that Locche was done a few favors on the way up, just as the young and raw Carlos Monzon may have similarly profited from the kindness of judges. But neither of these wonder boys needed crutches to stand up. Their records glitter with first-class quality and achievement.

A while back, writer Martin Sosa Cameron compiled a nice little biography of Locche in which the maestro’s many accomplishments were neatly encapsulated. Here is the gist of what Martin wrote: “From 1958 to 1964, Locche made 55 bouts without a loss (winning 45 and drawing 10), and between 1964 and 1972, when he lost his junior welterweight title to Alfonso (Peppermint) Frazer, he was unbeaten in 57 fights (won 54 and drew three). Through 1973 to 1976, he won his last seven fights. He faced the best men of his weight in their primes. Among his most important wins are Joe Brown (1963), Sandro Lopopolo (1966), Eddie Perkins (1967), Paul Fujii (1968), Carlos Hernandez (1969), Antonio Cervantes (1971), and Pedro Adigue (1973).

“Locche also drew with Ismael Laguna (1965) and Carlos Ortiz (1966), all world champions. Laguna, Ortiz and Lopopolo were holders of the belt in non-title bouts, and against Fujii, Locche obtained the junior welterweight championship. He also scored notable victories over Jaime Gine, Vicente Derado, Eulogio Caballero, Manuel Alvarez, Tony Padron, Sebastian Nascimento, Raul Villalba, Roberto Palevecino, Abel Laudonio, Hugo Rambaldi, Everaldo Costa Azevedo, L.C. Morgan (who previously beat Jose Napoles), Abel Cachazu, Alfredo Urbina, Juan Salinas, Juan Aranda, Joao Henrique, Adolph Pruitt, Benny Huertas and Jimmy Heair.”

The Naturals

Locche was ample proof that ring cleverness comes in all kinds of packages, so perhaps this is an opportune time to establish the strict parameters by which I judge him. I speak here of an innate ability that is only given to a special few, that of uncanny anticipation and the genuine gift of being virtually simultaneous in the coordination of mind and action. From what I have seen and heard, I believe that Locche places nearer than anyone to that phenomenal Australian wastrel, Young Griffo. Indeed, Nicolino might well have been Griffo’s modern equal.

I am talking about a gift that is eternal and somehow survives natural erosion and self-inflicted damage. Griffo was a drunk for most of his life, yet never lost the ability to instinctively dodge bullets. He could pick flies out of the air. He dodged a spittoon thrown by Mysterious Billy Smith when it was almost upon him. Spotting the projectile in the bar room mirror, the well-oiled Griffo moved his head by the required fraction and carried on boozing.

Boxing has seen many runners and jumpers and contortionists who can bend their bodies every which way in almost cartoon-like fashion. These are great gifts in themselves and I give these men every credit. But their talent is generally finite. Their speed eventually diminishes and their elasticity loses its stretch. Then there are those whose special talents can turn all sorts of twisting corners but cannot handle a sudden roadblock. Whatever else one thinks of Naseem Hamed, he possessed astonishing reflexes and lightning speed. But in the one true acid test of his career, he failed disastrously to change horses in midstream against wily Marco Antonio Barrera. Cunningly fighting against type, Barrera embarrassed Hamed in the way that Hamed had embarrassed so many others. Hamed never fought again.

So who else belongs up there with Locche and Griffo among the quick, the clever and the eternal? One lives in fear of leaving out any obvious candidates in these circumstances, but those who spring readily to my mind are Wilfred Benitez, Jem (Jim) Driscoll, Bob Fitzsimmons, Joe Gans, Jack Johnson, Benny Leonard, Jem Mace, Kid McCoy, Packey McFarland and Willie Pep. These were the enduring aces equipped with built-in radar.

Wilfred Benitez, at his young and glorious best before his troubles drowned him, was a precocious wonder of the age. It was no surprise that he befuddled Antonio Cervantes in much the same manner as did Locche. There was nothing tacky or exaggerated in Wilfred’s nickname of El Radar.

Much like Locche and Young Griffo, Benitez was a master of perhaps the most difficult of the fistic arts, that of moving whilst appearing to stand still. Kid Lavigne, even as he was thrashing punches into no man’s land, swore blind that Griffo did little more than twitch. Benitez at his best came close to occupying that rare stratosphere. I have always believed that the wiry Puerto Rican ace, if his mind hadn’t already been unravelling from personal strife, would have racked up more points than Sugar Ray Leonard in their clash of the modern titans.

Jem Driscoll, the great Peerless Jim, was another wizard who could give an excellent impression of a ghost. American fight manager Charlie Harvey couldn’t say enough about the Irish magician who drove top men like Abe Attell and Leach Cross to near despair. “Jem Driscoll was the greatest boxer the world has ever seen,” Harvey said in his later years. “You will recall that when Driscoll boxed Attell, he outboxed the Yankee four ways from the jack. He made Attell miss so badly that Abe almost plunged through the ropes. That will give you an idea of Jem’s boxing wizardry. You may talk about George Dixon, Young Griffo and their likes as masters of the profession. But give me that boy Driscoll. He unquestionably is the king of them all.”

Bearing Driscoll’s brilliance in mind, what are we to make of Jem Mace, who retained his remarkable powers of coordination right to the end? As an ageing veteran, long after his Prize Ring prime, Mace fought an exhibition with Driscoll which was witnessed by a number of British boxing reporters. They couldn’t believe what they saw. Driscoll, for all his evasive trickery, couldn’t avoid being hit by Mace’s left jab.

The marvellous, natural gifts of Bob Fitzsimmons and Jack Johnson have been much more greatly documented down through the years because of our timeless fascination with the heavyweights. To those who know their stuff, Fitz still gets the vote as possessing the most brilliant boxing mind the game has ever seen. He was acknowledged as the ultimate master by the formidable triumvirate of Griffo, Kid McCoy and Joe Gans. Fitz took his natural gifts to an even higher plane by constant study of physical and mental technique. He was probably the hardest pound-for-pound hitter that ever lived, yet his hammer-like blows were delivered with finesse and often in the manner of a gentle caress.

“Fitzsimmons was the greatest short punch hitter I ever saw,” said Jim Jeffries. “He could sure snap them in with a jar. You remember how everyone thought he knocked Corbett out with a solar plexus punch? Well, old Fitz told me years afterwards that he didn’t hit Corbett in the pit of the stomach at all. He got Corbett to leave an opening, shifted and just stiffened his left arm out and caught Corbett on the edge of the ribs on the right side of the solar plexus, to drive the ribs in with the punch.”

It was Kid McCoy’s contention that a prime Fitzsimmons would have had little trouble in taking Jack Johnson. Well, folks, we can argue about that one forever and a day. I hope Galveston Jack’s star isn’t diminishing among the younger set, because we surely have enough proof now of his genius. He was incredibly quick and thoroughly schooled in every element of the game. He could slip, feint and block punches, often catching them in mid-flight. His mental powers matched his great physical strength, often to the point of shredding the other man’s patience and driving him to swing and slash at the elusive target like a rank amateur. Fireman Jim Flynn quickly reached the end of his tether against Johnson, resorting to a comical jumping and butting routine that made mischievous Jack smile even more.

Kid McCoy, like Locche and Griffo, was another blithe spirit to whom boxing came easily. A deep thinker and philosopher and a master of mind games, the Kid worshipped at the altar of Fitzsimmons and extracted all the knowledge that Freckled Bob was willing to impart. A majestic boxer and a powerful puncher, McCoy played boxing as chess and had the grand master’s gift of constantly being three or four steps ahead. Alas, the Kid’s hyperactive and analytical brain did him in at the age of 67 when it calculated that there was no reason left to live and commanded its owner to commit suicide.

The lightweight division, of course, has spawned countless men of subtle skills and varying gifts, but the three all-time masters in cleverness, in this writer’s opinion, were Joe Gans, Benny Leonard and Packey McFarland. What did they have over the others? The more appropriate question might be, “What DIDN’T they have?”

There was no greatly discernible weakness in the fistic make-up of either Gans or Leonard. Their balance was superb and they were always ready to hit from any position. They could see openings almost before they presented themselves and then deliver accurate and educated blows with wonderful timing. With power and artistry, they could dismantle their opponents from any range. Leonard did indeed care deeply about getting his prized hair mussed. But Benny could rough it when the occasion demanded. He turned a potential defeat against Richie Mitchell into a thrilling and courageous victory at Madison Square Garden.

Packey McFarland, the wonder from the Chicago stockyards, the man who was never world champion yet lost just one of more than 100 fights, was another natural. Those who saw McFarland in action never forgot him. Huge crowds marvelled at the hard-hitting, ghost-like maestro who possessed the visual tricks and elusiveness of a shadow. When McFarland exploded onto the world stage at the Mission Street Arena in Colma, California, in the spring of 1908, he was hailed as a boxing wizard without a discernible fault. Former lightweight champion Jimmy Britt was scientifically bewildered and battered to a sixth round knockout defeat and everyone was talking excitedly about the new kid on the block. Ringside reporter Eddie Smith wrote of Packey: “McFarland is everything, a hitter, a boxer, a good general and wonderfully clever and fast.”

I wouldn’t have much of an argument with anyone who wants to tell me that Willie Pep was the greatest, purest boxer there ever was. Lord knows, Willie was great enough after his famous plane crash of 1946. Before that near tragic event, however, it seemed he was a phenomenon from another planet. In those early golden days, only Sammy Angott, a notoriously difficult opponent for anyone, was able to spoil and hustle a route through Willie’s confounding exclusion zone. Pep had raced to 63 straight wins before that first loss. “Willie Pep was the greatest boxer I ever saw,” said boxing historian Hank Kaplan. “There’s nobody even close to him today.”

Frustration

It is Kaplan who rather neatly brings us back to Nicolino Locche. When Hank was still alive and ticking, he loved Locche. Kaplan was never one to grow old or misty-eyed, and consistently gave credit to fighters of all generations. It was a source of great frustration to him that Locche’s great talents were going largely unrecognized. Boxing analyst, Curtis Narimatsu, who got to know Kaplan well, told me, “Hank absolutely adored the artistic Locche, as opposed to the blood-thirsty warlocks who favor the KO killers. Hank lamented to me often about the overlooked Locche. Nicolino had an exquisite defense and great vision.”

Nicolino Locche came from a humble background in the Tunuyan, Mendoza region of Argentina and he learned how to be untouchable in more ways than one. He had his first amateur fights as a tender nine-year-old and was a crafty natural from the outset, fighting in tough little arenas that were sometimes lit with kerosene lamps when the electricity supply failed. On one occasion, against a much bigger opponent, the cheeky little Locche blew out the lamps to even up the odds!

My good friend George Diaz Smith, who has penned many a fine article about the South American masters of the game, says of Locche, “He was a contortionist by trade, miffing many a fighter to fall right into him in avoidance of fatigue and despair—with the astute twist of his upper torso and hands at his sides, swiftly jerking his head a centimeter, dodging a lead or counter-punch by half an inch and then viciously contorting the facial features of his opponent like an artist strokes his brush.

“Fighting him was like a phantom before you, and if you did see him a moment where you thought he was standing, he suddenly disappeared right before your eyes and would then be standing in another position. There was no clowning around in there with him, although he was tagged the Charlie Chaplin of boxing for his unique moves in the ring. Acquiring the taste for gamesmanship and pizzazz, Locche found that boxing was as much an entertainment measure for incorporating theatrics that no other boxer had thus far seen on the planet—not since the smaller weights in Willie Pep and Benny Leonard.

“Talk about being inventive! Locche would constantly re-invent and challenge, making boxing improvisational fun to a newer boxing realm. Sliding his feet and camouflaging the moves were just for starters. He was deadly accurate with his volume punching, which left his opponents with so much buckshot, that it would be astounding as to how they could keep up, much less continue.

“Nicolino’s manager, Tito Lectoure, always held Locche above all his prized disciples without a second thought. Lectoure said, ‘I believe Locche was the last grand idol of the Argentine fighters. He was the most spectacular that stepped into the ring. There were a lot of good fighters, but Locche was unique, standing alone. His battles weren’t bloodbaths or particularly violent, yet he always filled Luna Park with 20,000 fans and it didn’t matter who he fought. People just wanted to see him.’”

High Praise

Just recently, I came across some high praise indeed for Nicolino Locche on one of those wonderful but obscure little websites that you can never seem to find a second time!. The praise came not from a fellow writer, not from a manager or a trainer, but from an erudite fan who quite obviously knew his boxing. Sadly, he didn’t reveal his true identity. But his comments, in my view, deserve greater exposure and here they are:

“As a lover of boxing and avid reader of boxing history, it may come as a bit of a surprise to you that I don’t place much weight on the opinions of boxing ‘historians’ when it comes to evaluating and comparing fighters.
“This holds true even for such veteran observers as Nat Fleischer, who personally saw every major boxing champion compete in person since the days of Jack Johnson through the era of Ali. That isn’t to say I completely dismiss everything Fleischer has to offer from his recollections, but he was, after all, just one man sitting ringside.

“However, there is one man whose opinion on the great fighters I regard with extreme deference; that man is former trainer Ray Arcel. No musty relic of the past, Arcel may have gotten his start in boxing as a sparring partner for the legendary lightweight Benny Leonard in the early 1920s, but over his 70-year career in boxing Arcel trained and developed championship fighters all the way through Roberto Duran and Larry Holmes. In between, world champions from Ezzard Charles to Barney Ross to Kid Gavilan and more than a dozen others all learned their trade at the knee of the master. So when Ray Arcel talks about fighters, I listen closely, because Ray Arcel might well be the greatest boxing mind in history.

“Most boxing historians will tell you that perhaps the greatest defensive fighter in history was the legendary Willie Pep, a magnificent featherweight champion universally included on every boxing wag’s all-time pound-for-pound list of the greats. On film, Pep is almost comically elusive and difficult to hit cleanly, seeming to anticipate incoming blows by telepathy and move just an inch out of range before countering sharply.

“So when Ray Arcel said that Willie Pep was only the second greatest defensive fighter he’d ever seen, I sat up and took notice. Who could Arcel’s number one be? The man he claimed was the greatest defensive boxer he’d ever seen was a little known Argentinian junior welterweight by the name of Nicolino Locche, a former world champion with more than 100 career victories who was none the less almost completely unknown to American boxing fans because he fought exclusively in South America.

“Locche trained lazily. He lacked a punch. He smoked up to 50 cigarettes a day. Heck, he smoked cigarettes in the ring between rounds! And despite all this, Nicolino Locche was quite possibly the most brilliantly defensive fighter in the history of boxing. Like Pep, Locche could stand in the center of the ring, hands at his sides, and openly laugh as his opponents tried desperately to land a solid punch, each effort missing by just an inch as Locche just barely moved out of harm’s way.”
Now, Ray Arcel didn’t know everything of course, as I’m sure our anonymous friend would be quick to concede. But foxy old Ray certainly knew more than most others.

Full Circle

While we can debate the mysterious qualities of the naturally gifted until the sun goes down, there is a much easier slide rule for measuring such men: it is a certain indifference and indeed a degree of arrogance on their part as to just how brilliant they are.

One occasionally meets such people. They enthrall you and infuriate you simultaneously. They will hit a home run or belt a golf ball 300 yards at the first time of asking and then trot off to do something more interesting. Young Griffo liked to drink and Nicolino Locche liked to smoke. But why not win a few major boxing titles in between? After all, Bobby Jones made a rewarding little pastime out of golf.

Mike Casey is a freelance journalist, artist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Locche | TyC Sports



Antonio Cervantes vs Nicolino Locche (03/17/1973) (1/5)



Antonio Cervantes vs Nicolino Locche (03/17/1973) (2/5)



Antonio Cervantes vs Nicolino Locche (03/17/1973) (3/5)



Antonio Cervantes vs Nicolino Locche (03/17/1973) (4/5)



Nicolino Locche - The Untouchable!



NICOLINO LOCCHE vs PAUL FUJII (12.12.1968)



Nicolino Locche vs Carlos Hernandez Part 1



Nicolino Locche vs Carlos Hernandez Part 2



Nicolino Locche vs Carlos Hernandez Part 3



Nicolino Locche vs Gerardo Ferrat



Nicolino Locche - El Intocable (The Untouchable)



Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles

Comments

This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Peter Silkov 03:24am, 10/02/2013

    Great article! I ‘ve always found Locche a fascinating and underappreciated boxer, it good to see someone giving him his due!.

  2. russ williams 12:21pm, 07/23/2013

    Thanks for a wonderful work on the genius of boxers and my first introduction to Locche. (what a shame I never knew of him) When I was 12 my uncle brought me to see Willie Pep and the second Sandy Saddler fight,which unfortunelately simply cannot be found today.In that fight I knew I was watching pure boxing genius as Pep defeated Saddler over 15 rounds that was in 1949. Six years later a substitute named Willie Pastrano replaced Joey Giardello against Al Andrews on the Wednesday night Pabst Blue Ribbon series and again I became mesmerized with the deft ring movements of the 19 year-old Pastrano. I have always had a fondness for “masters of the art of boxing"and indeed wrote a feature article about Willie Pastrano published by New Orleans Magazine in 2000.
    I intend to study the art of Locche and thanks for the enclosed videos with which to begin. To this day I still maintain Ray Robinson as the greatest fighter I had ever seen because of his ringwise talent ala Pep and Locche but possessed lethal punching power which enable him to pull-out fights by knockouts when in trouble or too old. The second Randy Turpin fight comes to mind as well as 2 back to back KO’s over Bobo Olson in his comeback as well as that picture left hook which took out that brawler, Gene Fullmer.
    But tease me with just one choice of ticket between seeing Robinson or Pep—-I would have to choose The Will o the Wisp. What a show he could put on—I am sure your Mr locche might do the same to me. Thanks much
    Russ Williams

  3. Edgar 07:06am, 11/16/2012

    I always enjoy your acute observations. particularly of Locche and Johnson.  Although understanding that Pep was very good, I did not admire his style, and it’s a pity he went to the well far, far too often.

    One little error. You neglected to fully explain the reason for Naseem Hamed’s retirement, which was a long apparent losing of interest, encouraged by chronic crumbling hands. I often saw his hands after a fight, and I believe that his were worse than any I’ve read about.

    And,....” the piece de resistance’. After Barrera, Hamed didn’t “never fought again”. He fought Manuel Calvo a 34-3 good European fighter, and won every round, although in a lacklustre way Then he just faded away, never actually retiring, and every so often making the headlines over a few years with news of an impending comeback, which of course never happened. He had become very wealthy and very obese…....  The guy was just indifferent to the idea of fighting again. 28 years old…..

  4. tuxtucis 11:41pm, 02/22/2012

    Yes, it would have been a very interesting affair between Niccolino and Bruno…Both very underrated fighters…I think the Argentinian would had many troubles with relentless swarming style of Italian…

  5. Cyrus Daruwalla 10:33pm, 02/22/2012

    Nicolino Locche is a forgotten great. Reason being that he is not an American.
    I would have liked to see Locche v/s Bruno Arcari. ( Another of my favorite fighters )

  6. tuxtucis 03:34am, 12/26/2011

    Why Mike Casey has taken away the part of article about Pernell Whitaker? I liked much the critics against Las Vegas and people who wants only blood and guts…

  7. TEX HASSLER 06:41pm, 11/21/2011

    Locche deserves far more recognition than he has received. Ray Arcel’s comment about Locche just about says it all. Arcel was a real boxing expert who had seen a multitude of great fighters. I am sure Locche would have out boxed Floyd Mayweather and every one in the his weight class. It takes time, a lot of time to develop into a great fighter and 40 fights is just a beginning into the learning process.

  8. The Thresher 10:58am, 09/08/2011

    This Hall of Famer from Argentina possessed incredible defensive skills that may well have been every bit as good as Willie Pep’s. He was known for his magical defensive tactics, uncanny reflexes and extraordinary ability to feint and make his opponents miss. This earned him the nickname “The Untouchable.”

    In many of his fights, his fans would burst into song mesmerized as they watched him dazzle his opponents.

    The event would resemble a soccer match.

    Following an amateur career in which he won 117 of 122 bouts, he turned pro in 1958. In 1961, he defeated Jaime Gine over 12 rounds to capture the Argentine lightweight title and two years later added the South American lightweight title. Over the next several years, he fought Joe Brown, Ismael Laguna and Carlos Ortiz. He then stopped Paul Fujii in Tokyo for the WBA junior welterweight title. Locche successfully defended the title five times. After losing to Antonio
    Cervantes (who he had previously beaten), he closed out his career with seven straight wins. Curiously, one of these was against Javier Ayala (MORE ON THIS LATER).

    Locche is revered as one of Argentina’s greatest boxing legends. He died on September 7, 2005 at the age of 66.

  9. mikecasey 08:00am, 09/08/2011

    Thank you kindly, gentlemen!

  10. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:19am, 09/08/2011

    Mike—This article is as deep as a well and there is plenty to drink in for all who read it.  I really liked it!

  11. Iron Beach 05:31am, 09/08/2011

    Once again my compliments to Mr. Casey, i’d like to add that if Ray Arcel said it…I believe it.

  12. The Thresher 06:22pm, 09/07/2011

    He was truly great. The fans would burst out in song as he did his thing.

Leave a comment