By Jim Amato


Jose Manuel Ibar Urtain was major player in the heavyweight title picture in the early 1970′s. The native  of Spain turned pro in 1968. He was the rage in Europe winning his first 30  fights by knockout including a win over Peter Weiland to capture the European  heavyweight title. Finally rugged German Jurgen Blin took Urtain the fifteen  round route but lost the verdict. Urtain’s first loss was by a low blow  disqualification to Alfredo Vogrig.

On November 10, 1970 Urtain met the  ever popular Brit Henry Cooper in London. The wily Cooper withstood Urtain’s early  aggression and then used his masterful left hook to halt Urtain in the ninth.  Urtain was extremely strong but his boxing limitations were now exposed.

In 1971, Urtain was held to a draw by veteran  journeyman Mariano Echevarria. In his next fight Jose was stopped by the clever  Gregorio  Peralta. To his credit Urtain came back to regain the European  title by blasting out Jack Bodell in two rounds.

In 1972 Urtain was  out slicked by the clever Joe “King” Roman over ten rounds. The “King” used this  win as a springboard to getting a 1973 title shot against George Foreman. That  ended in one disastrous round for Roman. Next, Urtain would lose his European  title in a rematch with Jurgen Blin.

Urtain would come back and beat former World Boxing Association light heavyweight champion Vincente Rondon. Jose then drew in a rematch with Roman and score a a KO over Richard Dunn. Urtain would then be stopped by Rocky Campbell and Alberto Lovell. Those losses pretty  much ended Urtain’s run as a viable contender.

Alfredo Evangelista became  Spain’s #1 heavyweight taking Urtain out in 1976. In his last shot at glory in  1977 Urtain met Jean Pierre Coopman for the vacant European title. It was over  in four rounds and so was Urtain’s career.

Jose ended up with a respectable  record of 56-11-4. He had 42 stoppage victories. I have the tape of his loss to  Henry Cooper. Although outclassed in the end by the clever Cooper. Urtain was  better then I expected. I do believe with high profile trainers and quality  sparring partners he could have gone to another level. The best comparison I can  make is that he was an Oscar Bonavena in the rough. Too bad he never got the  polish that he needed.

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing

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