He turned professional in 1958 and ten years and one day after his pro debut he became a world champion. Nevertheless, it was a long road for Argentine defensive wizard Nicolino Locche. By the time he met Paul Fuji in Tokyo, Japan for the World Boxing Association Light Welterweight title, Locche had amassed over one hundred fights. He halted the pained and frustrated Fuji in the tenth round to capture the crown.
From the begininng Locche fought almost all his battles in his native Argentina. His early career had its ups and downs but he won far more times then he lost or drew. In 1963, he burst on to the international scene with a decision win over former world lightweight champion Joe “Old Bones” Brown. In 1965, Nicolino met newly crowned lightweight titlist, the slick Ismael Laguna. The non title, overweight affair was judged a draw. Laguna then lost the title back to the great Carlos Ortiz and in 1966, Locche met Ortiz in a non title affair. Again, the crafty Nicolino had to settle for a draw.
Locche then set upon securing a world title shot for himself. In 1966, he won a non title ten round verdict over reigning world light welterweight champion Sandro Lopopolo. In 1967, he beat rugged L.C. Morgan and former champion Eddie Perkins. In 1968, he defeated Mexican Al Urbina. Then the shot came against Fuji who had defeated Lopopolo.
In 1969, Locche defended against former champion, the very dangerous Carlos Hernandez and the talented Joao Henrique. In 1970, he turned back the challenge of the able Adolph Pruitt. In 1971, he defeated Domingo Barrera Corpas and scored a masterful victory over Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes. Finally, in 1972, Nicolino was enticed to go to Panama where he met Alfonso “Peppermint” Frazier. The underdog Frazier out hustled the aging Locche to annex the crown. Nicolino would then put together a four fight win streak, while Frazier lost the title to Cervantes. In 1973, Nicolino met Cervantes in Venezuela and was stopped in the beginning of the tenth round.
No longer a champion, the proud Locche reeled off seven straight victories in hopes of regaining his crown. Finally in 1976 it became apparent that a title shot was not going to materialize so Nicolino hung up the gloves for good. Locche ended up with an amazing 117-4-14 record. Although he was not a hard hitter as he scored only fourteen knockouts, Nicolino was a master boxer. He ranks right up there with the great Willie Pep as a defensive genius. He was not nicknamed “El Intocable,” (The Untouchable) for nothing.
Nicolino was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2003. He passed away in 2005, leaving behind a true legacy of his tremendous talents.
Filed under: Boxing