By Jim Amato

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.

                                                                                                                                            Jim Amato

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