Forgotten Legends: Francisco “Panchito” Bojado

By: Steve Gallegos

There have been many top notch fighters who come out of the amatuer ranks and are expected to do big things upon turning professional. For some fighters, the spotlight is too bright and they eventually fold under pressure. This was the case with former top prospect Francisco Panchito Bojado.

Bojado was an all action boxer-puncher who made a name for himself in the early 2000’s. Bojado was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and he had an outstanding amateur record of 168-15 and represented Mexico in the 2000 summer olympics in Sydney, Australia. He turned pro in early 2001, signing with veteran boxing manager Shelley Finkel, who was able to ink Bojado a huge deal with Main Events and Showtime. 2001 would be a great year for Bojado as he would win his first nine bouts, all by KO. He was being showcased on televised cards alongside fellow top amatuer standouts Juan Diaz and Rocky Juarez.

It was in his ninth pro bout in which he would get his first real taste of national exposure. He met veteran Mauro Lucero on 11/03/2001 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV. It was the co-feature for the much anticipated battle between Kostya Tszyu and Zab Judah. Bojado didn’t disappoint on the big stage as he destroyed Lucero in the first round. Bojado was amongst the top prospects in boxing and was even being called the next Oscar De La Hoya; however reality would hit Bojado hard.

2002 started off very badly for “Panchito” as he dropped a 10 round unanimous decison to journeyman Juan Carlos Rubio. Bojado’s conditioning was a major factor in this fight as he lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks, which caused him to run out of gas early in the fight. It was a learning experience for Bojado and he continued to fight on, winning his next three fights; however the performances were dull and Bojado appeared to lack passion and desire. Changes needed to be made and they were.

In mid 2003, Bojado hired famed trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. who had helped resurrect Oscar De La Hoya’s career after his loss to Shane Mosley. Bojado was clearly a different fighter when he met veteran Lemuel Nelson on 08/09/03 in Miami, FL. Bojado boxed beautifully throughout the bout, using his jab to setup combinations and won a convincing 10 round unanimous decision. He would close out 2003 with another convincing decision win, getting revenge in a rematch with Juan Carlos Rubio. He would win his next two fights impressively including a win over veteran Emmanuel Clottey; however his career would be met with another roadblock.

He met former world champion and seasoned veteran Jesse James Leija on 07/24/04 in Atlantic City, NJ. It was a close, exciting fight in which Bojado put Leija down in the second; however Leija’s experience and ring smarts would be the difference in this fight and Bojado would lose a close 10 round split decision. Bojado would then fall off the radar completely, not fighting for nearly three years.

In 2007, he signed with Golden Boy Promotions and joined Oscar De La Hoya’s training camp in Puerto Rico, training with the “Golden Boy” in preperation for De La Hoya’s mega showdown with Floyd Mayweather. Bojado would return to the ring in 2007 and would win two bouts before losing a 10 round split decision to Steve Forbes in October,2007. It would be the last fight Bojado would have.

Bojado would face trouble outside the ring in 2011 as he was involved in a high speed chase with police after he failed to stop while passing through the Mexican/U.S. border. He hasn’t been in the ring since 2007; however he stated in a 2013 interview that he was back in training and was making a comeback. His boxing record to date stands at 18-3 with 12 KO’s. He’s another story of what could have been. Was the pressure too much for him? Did issues outside the ring affect him inside the ring? He’s only 30 years old; maybe there is something left in him where he can finish what he started.

Bojado-Forbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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