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Jorge El Maromero Paez-The Clown Prince of Boxing


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His famous alias comes from the Spanish word for somersault-"Maroma", and it didn't come from his ring days, but the fact that Paez actually worked in a circus! To my knowledge, he still does that. Jorge Paez was a very colorful but also talented and capable boxer, who experienced his greatest success early on in his career, while fighting at featherweight. There he captured the IBF title and managed to defend it no less than 8 times. He also managed to capture the WBO title and hold it for a while. He vacated those titles to step up to super featherweight, but was far less successful there. Standing 5'5, his athleticism and the athletic built he acquired working as a circus acrobat made him fight at a higher weight than normal for his size and he would end his career as a lightweight. During his long and colorful career, he won 79 fights and scored 52 ko's, also losing 14 times and drawing 5. Here is the story of the boxing acrobat-Jorge "El Maromero" Paez!

 

He was born 27 October 1965 in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico-right at the border with USA. He started working in the circus at a very young age and then took up boxing while living in San Luis Rio Colorado, another border town, in Sonora state. He turned pro in November 1984, aged 19. He was trained by Manuel Leal and managed by Ignacio Huizar. After going 25-2-1, he challenged for the IBF feather title against the champion Calvin Grove, who was known as a slick technical boxer. The fight took place in Paez's home town of Mexicali on 4 August 1988 and Paez put Grove down three times in the 15th and last round to snatch a close majority decision and with it the IBF belt of course. Grove was 34-0 coming in, so this was a big upset. It was also the last 15-round fight to be televised in USA. He had a rematch with Grove in his first defense on 30 March next year, again in Mexicali; this time, he won even more impressively, by stopping Grove by TKO 11 after being solidly ahead on all cards. In his second defense however, he unexpectedly drew against Louie Espinoza, who was also the WBO-champion coming in the fight, but that title was not on stake. In his third defense, he beat Steve Cruz, who earlier won the WBA title in a huge upset against Barry McGuigan. He had his fourth defense of 1989 against Jose Mario Lopez, whom he easily stopped by KO 2. He then rounded a year with another impressive win over Lupe Gutierrez, stopping his compatriot by TKO 6. He opened 1990 by fighting in Las Vegas Hilton against Troy Dorsey, a promising young fighter and a hard hitter. Paez had trouble making the weight and needed a second attempt to do it. Although he knocked Dorsey down in round 2 and went on to win by split decision, many in the attendance thought it was a robbery. That was on 4th February and only 2 months later, 7 April, he rematched Louie Espinoza, this time with his WBO title at stake. This time, he managed to get another split decision over Espinoza and was now a unified champion. He made his eight and final successful defense in a rematch against Dorsey on 8 July, again at Vegas Hilton, but the fight ended a draw.

 

It was now obvious he had problems making 126 and it affected his performances, even though Dorsey was a very solid and tough opponent. He therefore vacated his belts and entered super feather division. In his very first fight there, 22 August '90, he was matched against Tony Lopez for his IBF title. The fight was held at Arco Arena in Lopez's hometown of Sacramento and after 12 completed rounds, all three judges had Lopez winning by 117-111. In April next year, he first fought to a technical draw in 4 in a rematch against Lupe Suarez and in June he beat the 26-0 Tracy Spann by MD 10, despite being down once and losing a point for holding a glove to Spann's face. He then chose to challenge the undisputed lightweight champion and pound for pound one of the best fighters on the planet-Pernell Whitaker. That fight happened in Reno, Nevada, 5 October 1991 and Paez did surprisingly well, but suffered a cut from a butt in round 6 and then another butt opened another cut in round 10. He managed to land 197 punches on the defensive genius Whitaker and in the end lost by the scores of 115-111, 115-112 and 116-110. Pretty much as close as anyone got to beating a lightweight Whitaker at his best. Both guys also got a point deducted, Whitaker for pushing Paez's head down and Paez for hitting on a break. Paez went back to the drawing board and had a few easier fights, also beating the former feather world title challenger Johnny De La Rosa by UD 10. On 6 November 1992, he was matched against the much taller and hard-hitting Rafael Ruelas, who was a hot new contender back then. The 5'11 Ruelas put him down twice in the first round and Paez was on the receiving end for most of the fight until it was stopped following round 10, by the ringside doctor. The fight was for the NABF title, so it set Paez back career wise. He however got another world title shot at 135 against Freddie Pendleton on 17 July 1993, but lost convincingly by UD after being down in the 4th. Although he kept fighting, he was not the same fighter anymore. In July 1994, he was knocked out by Oscar De La Hoya in 2 rounds in a fight for the WBO light title, which would remain his most devastating defeat ever. He was also stopped by Genaro Hernandez in his next fight, by TKO 8. He however went undefeated in his last 19 fights, but they were all against subpar opponents. In his last notable fight in 1999, he was stopped by Jose Luis Castillo by a TKO 5, in a fight for the IBA super feather title.

 

Paez finally retired in late 2003 or early 2004, after having his last fight on 5 December 2003 against Scott McCracken, which he won by SD 10. He was 38 by then and had fought professionally for 19 years. His son Jorge jr alias "El Maromerito" is still listed as active and fighting at 154. He however never had the career like his father and never fought for a world title. Jorge El Maromero Paez was a very entertaining and unusual fighter, because his acrobatic background influenced his moves in the ring. He was tough, game, could hit hard at 126 and had "cojones" of course. He was nicknamed "The Clown Prince of Boxing" and in 2006 he was inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame. In public, he was always known as a good-natured and fun person. This was the story of JORGE EL MAROMERO PAEZ-THE CLOWN PRINCE OF BOXING!

 

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