“Boxing is so down, I don’t know who the rooster champion is”: ‘Happy’ Lora

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Considered one of the best stylists of his time, but with enough dynamite to liquidate rivals with his powerful left hand, Colombian Miguel ‘Happy’ Lora believes that current boxing has lost its luster and interest because there are no solid idols or champions. that provide a show.

“The boxers from before had better technique, they were better prepared because they fought 15 rounds, the champions gave a show, but today’s boxing has no idols,” Lora told Efe in a telephone interview.

The ex-boxer, 59 years old and champion of the bantamweight in 1985, was at the time with the Mexican Julio César Chávez and the American Mike Tyson the pearls of promoter Don King, who controlled this sport at his whim for two decades.

‘Happy’, nickname that derived from the way his aunt Marina greeted him with the expression “Happy Day”, regrets that boxing has now lost space not only in Colombia, but in the world.

“Boxing is so low that I don’t know who the world bantamweight champion is,” says Lora, who was crowned king in that division on August 9, 1985 by defeating the Mexican Daniel Zaragoza by decision, a lawsuit endorsed by the Council Boxing World Championship (WBC) and held in Miami.

The “rooster that bites and flies”, as he was then called, reigned from 1985 to 1988. He made seven defenses of his crown and lost the scepter on October 29, 1988, in Las Vegas, against the Mexican Raúl Pérez.

Lora, who was born in Montería and where she currently lives, considers that boxing “has changed a lot and has become more humanized”, because now the fights are 12 rounds and the athlete is more protected so that he does not suffer as much punishment as he can carry to fatal outcomes.

Regarding this situation, ‘Happy’ recalls that in 1986, in the third defense of his crown, he crossed gloves with the Mexican-American Alberto Dávila, a very strong puncher who won 56 of the 67 fights he played.

“I remember that fight a lot, not only because it was my first defense in Colombia, in Barranquilla, but because Dávila in a previous fight hit Francisco ‘Kiko’ Bejines so hard that he died a few hours later in a hospital,” recalls ‘Happy’. Lora.

The privileged waist together with the movement of the legs and the head, allowed him to dodge many blows and for that “I am healthy, I have no injuries of any kind,” says Lora.

From his time as a professional fighter, he remembers that the best was the day he won the title because that allowed him several things: to be the first monteriano world champion, to display the vueltiao hat in the ring and to be received by the then president of Colombia, Belisario Betancur .

The vueltiao hat has its origin in the Zenú culture and is worn by the peasants of the savannahs of the departments of Córdoba and Sucre, but it has managed to position itself as a garment that has accompanied Colombian delegations at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016.

Former President Bill Clinton and tennis player Roger Federer have also worn it.

On the current situation in Colombian boxing, ‘Happy’ Lora says that, as in the world, this sport has lost prominence in the country and that few punchers can reach the top.

His eyes and hopes are on Yuberjen Martínez, winner of the silver medal in Rio 2016, as he considers that “almost always when the Olympic medalists are supported, they go on to professionalism and are world champions.”

“He can be because he is also charismatic,” he says.

On the other hand, he supports that the doors have been opened to women so that they can be professionals in boxing, not only because “they have quality, but because it is a way for them, like men, to break through and give them a chance. better life for their families through sport ”.

At the moment, ‘Happy’ Lora enjoys a quiet life, “with zero scandals”, next to his wife with whom he has been married for 39 years and with whom he had three children.

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic I am now on a farm near Montería,” says Lora, who after retiring from boxing acted in several soap operas and recorded two Vallenata music records.

“For everything I did in boxing and in other fields, people still remember me in Colombia and in the United States, where I was an idol,” says Lora, who considers that the best boxer in the country has been Antonio Cervantes ‘Kid Pambelé’.

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