By Jim Amato

Ben Villaflor was a buzz saw southpaw out of the Philippines who made his mark in the early seventies. He was a boy wonder who could punch like hell. That power would make him a two-time world champion. He was born in November of 1952 and turned pro in 1966. Do the math…He won his first twelve professional contests but then lost a pair of decisions to Roger Boy Pedrano. Although he won most of his fights after that, an occasional loss spotted his record.

Ben made his move in 1970 with a KO over highly regarded Don Johnson. In 1971 he halted former featherweight title challenger Raul Cruz in the tenth. In 1972 he stopped another featherweight challenger in rugged Frankie Crawford. He also took out the respected Jose Luis Lopez in two rounds. On April 25, 1972 Villafor outscored Alfredo Marcano to win the WBA junior lightweight championship.

He had a tough defense with a disputed draw against the talented and capable Victor Echegary. In 1973 he lost the title to the slick Kuniaki Shibata. Seven months later Ben met Shibata again. This time he flattened Shibata in one round to regain the title. In 1974 he drew with the hard luck Apollo Yoshio and he blasted out future champion Yasutsune Uehara in the second.
In 1976 Villaflor drew with the clever challenger Samuel Serrano. Serrano outclassed later Ben. Without a title and with no more horizons to conquer, Ben retired, one month shy of his 24th birthday. He squeezed in 69 pro bouts in his short but fabled career. His ledger was 54-8-7 with 31 career kayos. Villaflor was the Manny Pacquaio of his time.

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing

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