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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mosaic of boxer ‘Cholo’ Espada to be unveiled today in Salinas

Ángel Luis “Cholo” Espada

By The Star Staff

Salinas Mayor Karilyn Bonilla Colón announced Tuesday that as part of the construction and renovation of sports facilities under the Salinas 2030 plan, a mosaic will be unveiled today in honor of the beloved boxer Ángel Luis “Cholo” Espada.

The mosaic has been dubbed “Eternal Champion.”

“Tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. we will meet at the Coliseum that bears the name of this great Salinense, to unveil the work,” the mayor said.

The artwork is the creation of renowned artist Roberto Biaggi, who also conceptualized and installed the mosaic of Doña Fela in Puerta de Tierra, and the Salinas artist Ivania Zayas in the Municipal School of Fine Arts that bears her name.

It was in June 1975 when Cholo Espada beat Clyde Gray by unanimous decision to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title. That bout took place at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan and is well remembered. After that, Espada worked with the young people of Salinas in the promotion of sports, Bonilla said.

In an interview published in 2013, Espada recalled that he started boxing when he was barely 15 years old, doing so behind the back of his mother, Evan Mangual, because she did not approve of him being a boxer.

In fact, boxing wasn’t Espada’s favorite sport. He preferred baseball, but slowly fell in love with it while winning fights in the amateur tournaments he entered.

“Cholo was the fourth world champion that Puerto Rico had at that time; [earlier in] 1975, we didn’t have any,” the mayor noted, adding that Alfredo Escalera won a (World Boxing Council) super featherweight title in Japan “almost simultaneously” with Espada winning his welterweight title in San Juan.

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